Gedetailleerde leidraad

0 Introduction to the Detailed Guidance

The present document provides a detailed guidance for dealing with uncertainty in terms of assessing and communicating uncertainties. It has been developed for the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), a part of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), and it provides assistance to PBL in assessing and communicating uncertainties in its environmental assessment activities. In doing so it moreover promotes self-education and good practice in dealing with uncertainties; in its use it should not hinder the job of the analyst or be used so rigidly that it begins to mislead or provide a false sense of security. Further, some comprehensiveness must be sacrificed in any tool of this sort, and there will inevitably be important issues that fall outside its scope.

This detailed guidance is a component of the PBL Guidance for Uncertainty Assessment and Communication. In parallel with the present detailed guidance, other components have been developed. These are provided in two separate documents, consisting of a mini-checklist together with a quickscan questionnaire (Petersen et al., 2003), which is linked up to a hints & actions list (Janssen et al., 2003), giving suggestions for dealing with uncertainty. The quickscan component renders a shorthand device for allowing different groups or individuals to set their own context for a problem. This in turn can facilitate comparison of quickscan results to reveal divergences of opinion or approach among team members early in the assessment process. The quickscan component can be used on its own, or as a portal to the present detailed guidance tool, since the associated quickscan hints & actions list provides explicit cross-reference to the current document.

This document is organized as follows. The rest of the introduction provides a description of the background and goals of the detailed guidance tool, a brief outline of its components, and briefly introduces an uncertainty typology to be used in this document. The detailed guidance tool then follows, and has been organized into a series of steps corresponding to each section. At the end of each section there is a brief outline in shaded boxes of the outputs that can be expected from that part of the tool. In some parts of the text there are plain boxes that indicate the reasoning underlying responses to the questions.