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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09UNVIEVIENNA157
2009-04-09 12:30:00
UNCLASSIFIED
UNVIE
Cable title:  

IIASA Council Accelerates Strategic Planning

Tags:   KSCA  NAS  AORC  PGOV  AU 
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DE RUEHUNV #0157/01 0991230
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P 091230Z APR 09
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9288
INFO RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 1337
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						UNCLAS UNVIE VIENNA 000157 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR R/PPR Helen Zoltanski, OES/SAT Hodgkins, STAS Reynolds,
Please also pass to Special Adviser to the Under Secretary for
Democracy and Global Affairs
White House for OSTP, Please also pass to NSF
USDA for Forest Service
DOE for Office of Science
SECSTATE PLEASE PASS USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KSCA NAS AORC PGOV AU
SUBJECT: IIASA Council Accelerates Strategic Planning

-------
SUMMARY
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UNCLAS UNVIE VIENNA 000157

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR R/PPR Helen Zoltanski, OES/SAT Hodgkins, STAS Reynolds,
Please also pass to Special Adviser to the Under Secretary for
Democracy and Global Affairs
White House for OSTP, Please also pass to NSF
USDA for Forest Service
DOE for Office of Science
SECSTATE PLEASE PASS USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KSCA NAS AORC PGOV AU
SUBJECT: IIASA Council Accelerates Strategic Planning

--------------
SUMMARY
--------------


1. (U) The IIASA Council, governing body of the International
Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), met on March 27 to
discuss the new strategic plan and agreed to core principles that
will guide the process toward the June Council meeting. The Council
reached consensus on the need for IIASA to narrow its focus to a few
major global problems, increase its policy relevance, and focus on
interlinkages, rather than sub-systems. New Director Detlof von
Winterfeldt, who assumed his post on January 1, 2009, has nominated
a writing committee that will produce a draft strategic plan by the
end of April to the National Member Organizations (NMOs). NMOs will
then have several weeks to review and comment on the paper and a
second draft will be distributed shortly before the Council meeting
on 7-9 June. End summary.

--------------
Director Seeks Streamlined Research, More Engagement
--------------


2. (U) In a meeting the week before the Council meeting, von
Winterfeldt said that the last strategic plan, which was implemented
in 2000, had mixed results. Although its objective of globalizing
IIASA's membership was met, the research plan was too disparate,
balkanizing the Institute and detracting from one of its core
strengths, interdisciplinary systems analysis. The director wants
to streamline IIASA's 12 programs and four special projects into 3-5
core clusters that conduct research on interconnected global
problems.


3. (U) Another priority is increasing engagement with NMOs and
establishing a dialogue to make IIASA more responsive to member
state needs. Von Winterfeldt wants to establish links within
government agencies to ensure that IIASA's work has policy impact.
He is preparing customized brochures for each NMO summarizing how
IIASA has benefitted individual states. He praised his predecessor

Leen Hoordijk for globalizing IIASA's membership, calling it his
greatest legacy. He noted that Estonia had resigned its membership,
but Malaysia was close to joining, and the Institute continued to
pursue the membership of the U.K. and France.

--------------
Scientists Call for "Solution-Oriented" Programs
--------------


4. (U) Arild Underdal of Norway, Chairman of the Scientific
Advisory Council (SAC) presented the views of the SAC on the
strategic plan. The SAC agreed that IIASA needed a more focused
research agenda, with better integration of programs, and with
science at the core of the mission. The SAC proposed increasing
IIASA's policy relevance by making its programs "science-based and
solution-oriented" and by providing menus of options for policy
makers. IIASA's strategic plan should build on its strengths, which
the SAC identified as science-based modeling and analysis, focus on
global problems, integrated interdisciplinary assessments, policy
independence, and networks and collaboration.

--------------
Member Organizations Weigh In
--------------


5. (U) Representatives from 15 National Member Organizations (NMOs)
were present (Austria, China, Egypt, Finland, India, the
Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russia,
South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United States), and nearly
every country contributed to the discussion. The South African
representative emphasized that the first task should be refining
IIASA's identity, especially in light of the expanded membership.
Furthermore, capacity-building should be integrated into IIASA
programs rather than added as an afterthought. Pakistan shared this
view. The U.S. said the only way to attract NMO interest was
through a broad global agenda. Pakistan agreed, adding that the
proposed holistic approach that linked climate change, food, water,
and energy was very fruitful. The U.S. NMO also said that
"negotiation" should be added to the list of core strengths, an
allusion to the Processes of International Negotiation (PIN)
program, and India said that the "science" in science-based modeling
should include social science. Russia recommended an influx of new
brains and new ideas, which should be facilitated by a mandatory
rotation of IIASA staff, a proposal supported by Sweden, which also
called for integrating gender equality into all IIASA programs.

--------------
Emerging Consensus on Strategic Plan
--------------


6. (U) After discussions, von Winterfeldt presented a list of
principles to guide the writing team in the preparation of the first
draft of the strategic plan. This consensus included:

-- focus on 3-4 major global problems
-- increase policy relevance
-- conduct global research with local collaboration
-- focus on interlinkages, not sub-systems
-- develop multiple capacities, including systems integration,
innovation, and outreach
-- strengthen education and capacity building.

The writing team will produce a draft strategic plan for review by
the end of April. NMOs will then have several weeks to submit
comments and a second draft will be distributed shortly before the
next Council meeting on June 7-9.

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COMMENT
--------------


7. (U) New director Detlof Von Winterfeldt's clear vision of
IIASA's future orientation is well-articulated and enjoys broad
support both within IIASA and among the national member
organizations. His experience in development in the U.S. university
system should help make IIASA more responsive to member
organizations. His proposals to streamline and focus IIASA's
research program will help raise awareness and increase the impact
of the Institute's work. We particularly welcome the recognition of
the need to increase policy relevance by engaging directly with
relevant government agencies. Such dialog is central to the
long-term health of IIASA, particularly as governments begin to look
more closely at the costs and benefits of IIASA membership in light
of the economic downturn. The success of the strategic plan will
depend in large part on the extent to which IIASA can carve a niche
for itself in a crowded policy advisory community, and on this score
we are optimistic, because IIASA's comparative advantage remains the
quality and diversity of its scientific staff, which lend it a
unique capacity to conduct high-quality, interdisciplinary systems
analysis. End comment.

SCHULTE