Before conducting impact assessments, it is important to define the system boundaries. This is the thematic and spatio-temporal frame within in which the assessment is conducted and requires a definition of:
- the purpose of the assessment
- the spatial and temporal frame
- the selected impact areas
Impacts that occur outside of this frame are not considered. Generally speaking, assessments should be designed to be relevant for the intended target group, e.g., by focussing on the impacts of different options available to a group of decision makers. More information can be found at „Purpose & Decision –Making Level”.
The Purpose of the assessment also influences the setting of the spatial and temporal frame. Assessments should seek to set this frame wide enough to include all relevant impacts but narrow enough to avoid bloating the data requirements and obscuring important results. More information can be found at „Spation-temporal scales“.
Finally, the impact areas for which effects are to be assessed, need to be chosen. This platform provides information on more than on hundred impact areas from the perspectives of Ecosystem Services, Resource Use Efficiency and Sustainable Development Goals. However, in any given assessment only a small selection of these impact areas can and should be used. More information on how to select impact areas can be found at at „Impact Area selection“.