ICONICS rules and governance

Structure of ICONICS

 The organizational structure of ICONICS includes a Steering Committee and Working Groups. The Steering Committee, as the principal governing body and point of contact, organizes and oversees the work of ICONICS. Most of the work is implemented through Working Groups that draw on members of the Steering Committee and the broader scientific community.

Participation and Membership

Participation in ICONICS is open to all researchers worldwide who have subscribed (free of charge) to the moderated ICONICS mailing list. Membership of ICONICS is accorded to those individuals serving on the Steering Committee and to participants of the Working Groups.

Steering Committee

 Responsibilities: The Steering Committee provides leadership for ICONICS and is responsible for the governance and work of ICONICS. Specifically, the Steering Committee:

  • Identifies opportunities to facilitate, promote, and communicate the use of socioeconomic development pathways in interdisciplinary (climate change) research and assessment;
  • Reviews and prioritizes activities suggested by ICONICS members, by the scientific community, and by potential partner organizations;
  • Establishes, supports, oversees and dissolves the ICONICS Working Groups;
  • Exchanges information on the use of socioeconomic scenarios between individuals and communities engaged in climate change-related research; and
  • Serves as a point of contact for external international organizations that coordinate and assess climate change research, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), World Adaptation Science Programme – PROVIA, the World Climate Research Program (WCRP), and the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC).

Decision making: The ICONICS Steering Committee makes decisions by consensus

 Steering Committee membership: Membership of the Steering Committee is decided upon by the Steering Committee members. It is also includes at least co-chair from each Working Group. The Steering Committee strives towards balanced membership across the scientific disciplines that develop and use socioeconomic scenarios (e.g. research represented in the IPCC Working Groups, the SDG research community and researchers engaged in scenario methods development) and across geographies and demographics. Any Steering Committee member may propose a new member of the Steering Committee. New members are added to the Steering Committee by a vote of at least 66% of the membership.

Members of the Steering Committee are appointed for a period of four years. After this period, membership of the SC can be renewed through a re-election vote of at least 66% of the SC members.  Members can withdraw themselves from SC membership at any time.

 Co-chairs of the Steering Committee: The Steering Committee will appoint at least two and maximum three chairpersons from among the Steering Committee membership. Candidates are nominated and voted on by Steering Committee members. When only one person is nominated, no voting is required but there will be a three-week period for members to express any reservations. The co-chairs at the time of voting will resolve any issues that arise.

Co-chairs of the Steering Committee are appointed for a period of three years, after which they can be nominated for renewal through the election process described above.

The ICONICS co-chairs are charged with ensuring that the Steering Committee meets as necessary to execute the business of ICONICS (at least three times annually) and documenting the outcomes of the meetings. If more than two co-chairs are appointed, executive decisions can be taken by a majority of the co-chairs. Summaries of decisions taken will be posted on the ICONICS website.

Working Groups

 Working Groups bring together members of the ICONICS Steering Committee and external experts to carry out activities on specified topics that align with the mission of ICONICS.

 Establishment: New Working Groups may be proposed to the ICONICS Steering Committee by ICONICS members, the scientific community, and potential partner organizations. The proposal should describe:

  • the goals of the Working Group;
  • planned activities, how these would be carried out, and timeline for the activities;
  • how the activities of the group align with the ICONICS mission; and
  • the proposed co-chairs of the group and planned members.

The ICONICS Steering Committee will review each proposal, make a recommendation on the formation of a Working Group, and select the co-chairs for the Working Group. Co-chairs of Working Groups automatically qualify to be members of the ICONICS Steering Committee, with at least one Working Group co-chair included in the membership of the ICONICS Steering Committee.

Participation: The co-chairs will invite participation in Working Groups from members of the ICONICS Steering Committee and from the broader scientific community. In exceptional circumstances, the co-chairs can request the Steering Committee to revoke a participant’s membership in a Working Group.

Governance and duties: Working Groups should typically have at least two co-chairs to share duties and/or provide expertise in areas relevant to the group’s activities. Co-chair responsibilities include:

  • coordinating Working Group activities;
  • updating the Steering Committee on progress at least three times annually; and
  • recommending when circumstances determine that the Working Group can be dissolved.

Sunsetting: When the goals of a Working Group are achieved, and activities are no longer needed, the co-chairs will recommend to the Steering Committee that the Working Group can be dissolved. Temporarily dissolving a Working Group because it activities are not relevant for a certain period of time is also an option.

Addendum for Steering Committee membership

Because the 2018 Steering Committee predates this document, a different process will be followed for 2019-2022. In 2020, existing members will be asked to confirm their interest in continuing their membership and by 2022 existing members will go through a re-election process as described in the governance document.