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0.1 Goals

The goals for development of the PBL Guidance for Uncertainty Assessment

and Communication were as follows:

  • Structure an approach to environmental assessment that facilitates an awareness, identification, and incorporation of uncertainty.
  • Specifically address and relate the role of uncertainties in the context of policy advice.
  • Not necessarily reduce uncertainties, but provide means to assess their potential consequences and avoid pitfalls associated with ignoring or ignorance of uncertainties.
  • Provide guidelines for use and help against misuse of uncertainty assessment tools.
  • Provide useful uncertainty assessments.
  • Fit PBL's specific role in the decision analytic cycle.
  • Promote the adoption of uncertainty awareness methods in common practice at PBL.
  • Facilitate the design of effective strategies for communicating uncertainty.

Note that the guidance tool addresses 'uncertainty assessment' as an aid to, and part of, 'environmental assessment'. The former term refers to the set of methods and processes used to cope with uncertainty. This is one element of a larger process to assess a problem concerning the environment or nature, which goes by the term 'environmental assessment' here. The provided guidance tool is not a guide to environmental assessment methods in general (which encompass more than just uncertainty assessment), but focuses on the intersection between uncertainty assessment and environmental assessment. The form of assessment intended in each case will be made clear throughout this document.