In 1990 the International Social Science Council (ISSC) created the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Programme (HDP). It was at a time when the sciences were changing rapidly, the effects of global change were becoming more visible and there was a growing realization that human societies both contributed to the generation of and were impacted by these changes. The International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) became a joint sponsor of HDP in 1996 in order to facilitate the integration of research across the social and natural sciences. This precipitated an expanded agenda, a name change to the International Human Dimensions of Global Change Programme (IHDP) and major funding from the German Government.
ICSU and ISSC requested this Assessment 10 years after the formation of IHDP. It was asked to address the following issues:
Scientific and policy relevance and impact;
Organizational performance; and Interactions with others.
These issues are addressed along with two other questions, which are logical extensions of the other issues:
Is the mission of IHDP, which was developed in the 20th Century, appropriate to the context and demands of the 21st Century?
Does the organizational structure of IHDP reflect its mission for the 21st Century?