property rights are a major concern. The assessment did not provide any policy analysis or evaluate the information in any decision-making context. Thus, the global approach failed to recognize the need for assessments at the national or regional scale of greatest relevance for most of the actions required to carry out the convention.

Key Strengths and Weaknesses of the GBA. In many ways, the lessons learned from this assessment have contributed to and guided the second effort to assess global biodiversity and ecosystem functions undertaken by the MA.


  • First attempt at a global assessment that covered all of the many dimensions of biological diversity.

  • High scientific credibility due to the involvement of world’s leading scientists.


  • No authorizing environment and hence a lack of government acceptance.

  • Limited budget hindered outreach (e.g., no web posting of products) and substantive interaction among working groups.

  • Products not very “accessible” to policy audience.


The U.S. Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990 calls for a periodic assessment of the state of climate science, including the potential impacts of climate change on natural resources and human well-being in the United States. NACCI was officially requested by Dr. John H. Gibbons, then director of the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, and was charged with addressing questions centered around (1) the role of climate change in exacerbating or ameliorating existing environmental stresses, (2) priority research needs to better inform policy makers, (3) coping options, (4) resource planning and management options in the face of uncertainty, and (5) improving our ability to adapt to climate change and variability.

The National Assessment (NAST 2001) began with a series of workshops involving diverse stakeholders. A National Assessment Synthesis Team (NAST), composed of experts from industry, academia, government laboratories, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), provided overall guidance on scope and process. The assessment revolved around the development of a series of regional teams covering the entire United States and sector teams for water, health, forests (ecosystems), and agriculture, as well

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement