A common problem of several past assessments has been the discrepancy between the mandate and the funding. For example, the NACCI was funded within preexisting agency budgets, and funds were not available for all regions and sectors in a timely way. This resulted in limited support for some teams and delayed funding for others. Overall, it led to unevenness in the team reports and exacerbated difficulties in creating a coherent and consistently high-quality synthesis of all regions and sectors. The budget for the GBA was much lower than for other global assessments of its scope. This had a deleterious effect on the number of meetings that could be held, the number of reports that could be prepared and published, and the size of the support staff. Because funding is required for a broad and representative participation of experts and stakeholders; for administrative support to facilitate the compilation, writing, and review of the product; and for an extensive communication, dissemination, and outreach efforts, insufficient funds can jeopardize critical aspects of an assessment. This discrepancy between mandate and funding can stem from the fact that those who mandate the study do not actually fund it. As an example, ACIA had a very clear mandate from the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee; however, the funding came from government agencies in the eight Arctic nations. This became a problem from the beginning because the agencies tasked with providing funds were not all fully supportive of the activity.
When broad expert participation is required, the legitimacy of the assessment might be questioned if insufficient funds are available to support individuals from stakeholder communities who would not otherwise be able to participate. Lack of sufficient funding can have a particularly negative effect on the legitimacy of a global assessment if it limits or prevents developing-country involvement.
A well-designed communication strategy requires significant administrative support throughout the process, particularly at the end for dissemination. Therefore, funds need to be reserved for the final phase when intensive outreach and dissemination efforts are required. Because inadequately funded assessments may have to shortchange critically important process steps that lead to the loss of credibility, legitimacy, and/or salience, organizers must be especially strategic about proceeding with the assessment if funding sources are not secured from the outset. Therefore, organizers need to address the following questions before initiating the process: Does it make sense to begin with insufficient funding in the hope that additional resources will become available? If so, what are the implications from a process perspective relative to the goals and objectives? Will it compromise the credibility of the assessment? Should the mandate and scope be adjusted to the available funds?