Cumulative effects assessment

3 May 2019

ICG-Eco-C held a workshop on the 25th – 26th April in London, facilitated by Cefas, to progress its work on cumulative effects assessment for the Quality Status Report (QSR) 2023. OSPAR has been developing a methodology for the assessment of cumulative effects of human activities in the North East Atlantic as part of the Ecosystem Assessment Outlook for the QSR 2023. The integrated / ecosystem-based approach to cumulative effects assessment cuts across and draws on all OSPAR work streams. It applies the risk assessment tool Bow Tie Analyses to assess the relations ships between different pressure and state indicators, the cause and consequences of changes in pressure and state and the effectiveness of management measures in controlling change.

Following an initial workshop in Trondheim, Norway in October 2018 to describe and test the methodology with a representative group from OSPAR’s committees this second workshop focused on developing questions for the cumulative effects assessment to address and associated case studies. The workshop followed on from a meeting of ICG-QSR (23rd – 25th April), the outputs of which helped to frame the case studies. The aims of the workshop were to:

• develop a better understanding of the role that cumulative effects assessment will play in the QSR 2023 (following on from the discussion in ICG-QSR);

• agree what guidance should be provided to Committees and expert groups responsible for producing individual and thematic assessments;

• agree a short list of questions and case studies for extended bow-tie analysis to be conducted by Eco-C.

Informed by an initial set of presentations and discussions on the methodology the delegates broke in to two groups to produce a shortlist of initial questions for consideration (Group 1: considered key messages from the QSR 2010, Intermediate Assessment 2017 and ICES Ecosystem Overviews; whereas Group 2: developed questions from scratch). The typology of the questions fitted in two distinct areas: (i) those that could be integrated within the Thematic Assessments for the QSR 2023, and (ii) those that form the basis of a cross-thematic synthesis assessment. Each Group the selected one question which they used to scope out a case study which will be completed during the 2019/20 meeting cycle.

Participants gained practical experience with applying the methodology, recognised that the approach is designed to make the best use of available data but recommended that more work is needed to better describe how the outputs will be presented.

The chapter on cumulative effects assessment from OSPAR's 2017 Intermediate Assessment can be read here