Ultimately, the UK is striving to ensure that resources are allocated so that overall, the suite of observations collected enables government, society and individuals to respond to the changing natural environment. Increasingly observation activities are being scrutinised for efficiencies and funders of environmental observations have to make hard choices and decisions e.g. should a new programme be started? Should one be stopped or modified? What will be the impact or risks?
Historically each of the 100 or so funders have approached funding decisions in their own way. This has resulted in the lack of transparency and a diverse portfolio of observations, with little reuse. A new decision support framework is now under development. Initially this will focus on the public sector funders to help them:
- Make transparent informed decisions regarding the funding of environmental observations.
- Improve decisions on contributions to existing or proposed national and international programmes.
- Optimise each organisations investments so to avoid overlap, duplication or redundancy.
- Recognise dependencies and work in partnership with others.
Elements of a Decision Support Framework
There are four main elements required to make informed decisions:
- A set of common criteria
- Sound evidence
- A Forum for discussion and governance
- A means of implementation
These elements are described in 'UK-EOF Decision Support Framework - Concepts and Tools' document. These concepts are being trialed and rapid developments are expected in 2010, with many organisations and groups needing to assess their observation portfolio.
The UK-EOF are supporting organisations by providing evidence needed for decision making in the form of the UK-EOF Statement of Need,(which allows us to see what, in an ideal world, would be part of a balanced suite of observations addressing all (every organisation's) needs), the Environmental Observations Activities Catalogue and from the Financing Observations workstream.
The UK-EOF also offers a neutral space for its member organisations to discuss collaborative opportunities.