The new mission of SCOPE promotes the combination of sound peer- reviewed scientific knowledge and assessments and their translation into policy and decision making across local to regional to global scales. This global-scale impact is possible because of proven SCOPE success at working across scientific, cultural and political boundaries.

SCOPE emphasizes the synthesis of existing information, formulation of balanced appraisals, stimulation of new approaches, and identification of the more important research needs.

Current Activities
Outreach Activities


INI logo
International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) – A global network of scientists sponsored by SCOPE and IGBP that seeks how best to optimize the use of nitrogen in food production, while minimizing the negative effects of nitrogen on human health and the environment as a result of food and energy production. INI contributes to the strengthening of the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) coordinated by UNEP. Recent and forthcoming INI's events are the 5th International Nitrogen Conference in Delhi in December 2010 (link to Delhi Declaration) and a regional workshop for Africa in January 2011. In June 2011 Prof. Deli Chen succeeds Prof. John Freney as the SCOPE representative in the INI Steering Committee.

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International Biofuels Project
- An objective, science-based assessment to provide a comprehensive, systematic, and comparative analysis of the environmental benefits and costs of biofuel technologies. The project is being conducted both at the global (phase 1) and sub-global (phase 2) levels, so as to take into account specific physical and societal dimensions in the main regions of the world.


Third Pole Environment
– The region surrounding the Tibetan plateau encompasses more than 5 million km2 with an average elevation of over 4000 m. Environmental changes within the huge geographic presence of this Third Pole region impact atmospheric circulation patterns not only of Eurasia, but of the Northern Hemisphere as a whole and even the entire globe. UNESCO, SCOPE and other partners will consider environmental and ecological impacts of climate change during the last 2000 years; water cycles and the Indian monsoon; ecosystems at high elevation under global warming including biodiversity and land use changes; glacial retreat and glacial mass balance; and lakes affected by glaciers and related potential hazards. Two workshops were convened in 2009 and 2010.


Urban Systems for the Future – A joint UNESCO/CAS- Chiense Academy of Sciences/SCOPE international symposium held in Shanghai on "Urban futures and human and ecosystem well-being" in October 2010 laid the groundwork for an international initiative on sustainable urban development in existing, new, and rapidly expanding cities. This programme will consider a wide spectrum of urban environment issues through a series of connected but separately viable sub-projects on specific foci, working across sectors, and integrating scientists together with users from the civil society, government department representatives, and business. The full project plan will be finalised during a meeting in Korea in early 2011.


Projects under development

Biosphere reserves and their environmental and ecosystem services – The project will be a partnership between UNESCO and SCOPE to assess the impacts of UNESCO/MAB biosphere reserves on ecosystems and the services they provide to human communities in the surrounding areas, particularly the buffer zone and the transition area.

Economic valuation of climate change in Africa and the Middle East– This possible future regional focus activity will survey and analyse the different sources and reasons of climate change; the environmental, social, and economic impacts of climate change; and provide an economic evaluation of damages caused by climate change and environmental costs of decreasing CO2 emissions in order to propose a regional economic and financial strategy for climate change control programmes. The project will be coordinated by SCOPE and the Egyptian Academy of Sciences together with the ArabMAB network and the UNEP regional office.

Pollution from mining activities and its consequences on human health in Central Europe – SCOPE and partners will analyse and assess current knowledge on the links between atmospheric and water pollution due to large-scale mining activities and negative effects on human health and wellbeing, in order to better inform decision-making by national, provincial and local governments, as well as by industry.

Plastic debris in the ocean - Plastic debris in the marine environment can persist for hundreds of years. While there are an increasing number of national and regional initiatives to review the extent of the problem, there remains a need for an integrated assessment and recommendations for effective global and regional strategies. GESAMP (and the intergovernmental agencies it represents) and SCOPE are presently developing the project plan.

Global Pollination Initiative – SCOPE and partners will develop a
comprehensive approach for a range of issues that involve pollination systems and pollinators and the importance of pollination systems and services to support biodiversity, agriculture and food resources, environment, economics, and human health and wellbeing. This initiative will aim to develop guidelines and strategies to minimize impacts on biodiversity and human wellbeing, and promote conservation of pollinators and pollination systems.

Soil fertility management in the context of global change – This project will look at i.a. rational mechanisms for establishing balances between agricultural production, fertility management, natural fertility and other ecosystem services; fertiliser use to grow biofuels and problems associated with justifications, trade-offs, accounting and certification; and plant nutrition-moisture relationships. SCOPE is exploring partnerships with the FAO, IFA and IPNI on this project.

Environmental sustainability and security in the Black Sea Basin - The countries that border the Black Sea or are part of its hinterland are all experiencing rapid economic development that concentrates on the building of new infrastructures without sufficient consideration of the possible threats to ecosystems, or whether the increased use of natural resources is sustainable. A series of SCOPE-driven assessments will be designed to establish the criteria for appraising, monitoring and managing environmental sustainability in the context of i) rapid economic development and ii) lack of appropriate governance mechanisms to ensure sustainability.


SCOPE network experts also participate in activities undertaken in collaboration with international intergovernmental and non- governmental programmes.

Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) – IAI carried out a multi-year assessment of knowledge, research capacities, and institutional opportunities and constraints related to the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the Andean region of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The altitudinal and latitudinal gradients of the Andes support a large and unique diversity of ecosystems. A significant up-slope movement of the agricultural frontiers was happening in the Andes as a result of temperature changes, which endangered Alpine biodiversity. The Andes' eastern slopes had been classified one of the earth's mega-diverse regions. SCOPE collaborated on the 2009 workshop of this IAI-MacArthur project in the Andes and the publication of the results in Spanish and English

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - SCOPE and UNESCO have developed a number of joint activities on a regular basis over the past 20 years. In particular, collaboration with the Division of Ecological Sciences has resulted in the ongoing Policy Briefs Series and the Third Pole Environment. Together with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme and SCOPE have launched a new assessment on urban sustainability and urban heritage

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

SCOPE is a regular contributor to the UNEP Year Book and to UNEP's Global Environmental Outlook.
The Year Book aims to reinforce and support the science-policy interface. On an annual basis, it presents recent developments and new scientific insights of particular interest to policy-makers. The Global Environmental Outlook is a global, consultative, participatory process that builds capacity for conducting global environmental assessments and for reporting on the state and trends of the environment, future outlooks and policy options. UNEP has engaged with scope in the development of the ongoing INI and biofuels projects.


SCOPE activities are often undertaken in partnership with international and national agencies, scientific bodies, business and industry among which: