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There are several distinct roles and responsibilities in an assessment: the authorising body, the guiding committee, the technical panel, the assessment leader, the assessment coordinator, the review editors, the lead authors, the authors, contributing authors, expert reviewers, and stakeholder reviewers.
The Authorising Body (in this case, the Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism, under its Minister, the Hon Marthinus van Schalkwyk) is an agency that has a legitimate mandate to make decisions in the sphere of the assessment, and thus creates an authorising environment for assessment.
The Guiding Committee is appointed by the authorising body. It represents the stakeholders of the assessment, and is charged with defining the scope and questions (in dialogue with the technical panel, to ensure that they are feasible and well-understood), approve the composition of the author teams for expertise and balance, and accept the assessment when it is complete.
The Technical Panel consists of the Lead Authors of the chapters, plus the Assessment Leader (Dr Bob Scholes of the CSIR in this case) and the Assessment Coordinator (Kathleen Mennell, CSIR). Its job is to run the assessment, especially during the working sessions.
The Assessment Leader (Dr Bob Scholes) is appointed by the authorising body. He chairs the technical panel, and is overall responsible for the assessment, and in particular the appropriate use of its funds.
The Assessment Coordinator (Kathleen Mennell) undertakes the day-to-day administration of the assessment. She handles queries, documents, communications, and interactions with authors, publishers and stakeholders.
The Lead Authors are responsible for the delivery and scientific quality of specific chapters. There is one per chapter. Lead Authors sit on the Technical Panel and interact with the Assessment Leader and the Review Editors.
The Authors help to write the chapters. They are collectively responsible for the factual correctness of the entire chapter (including, but not restricted to, their own contributions) and the correctness of references. They take collective responsibility for the assessments they make and the uncertainty ranges they give.
Contributing Author generally make smaller contributions to the chapter (a paragraph, or a sidebar).
The Review Editors oversee the review process. They do not conduct the review themselves but they see that it occurs, and is responded to in a balanced and justified way, and are final arbitrators in disputes between Authors and Reviewers.
The Expert Reviewers are domain experts (‘peers’) who comment on issues of factual and technical correctness and completeness of the first and second drafts. There are typically several per chapter.
People or groups who have a stake in the outcome of the assessment, and any interested parties make up the Stakeholder Reviewers who comment on the second draft only. They may be experts in their own right, but they mostly address issues of adequacy, clarity and balance. There are typically many per assessment.