The Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE; http://www.environmentalevidence.org) was founded a decade ago to address the problem of lack of accessible, good quality evidence to inform decision making in environmental management. It was evident that a gap existed between the community generating and publishing scientific evidence and the community seeking evidence to inform their decisions (e.g., environmental managers and policy makers). This led to a disconnect between the evidence that was generated and the decisions that were made. Essentially, decision makers were not utilising the best available evidence and instead tended to cherry pick from available empirical studies or rely more on personal experience or input from peers .
These aforementioned observations were backed up by earlier experiences of other sectors, particularly health and medicine (e.g., Cochrane Reviews; see http://www.cochrane.org), where a movement had emerged to improve the evidence base for health interventions. There was both need and opportunity to follow the lead of the health sector and improve effectiveness in environmental practice  and implementing an evidence-based approach to environmental management [3, 4]. Key early objectives of CEE were to adapt existing methodologies of evidence synthesis (especially systematic reviews; see ) from other sectors to key questions in environmental management, to create standards of conduct for evidence synthesis (see ), and to create a global network seeking to conduct and disseminate findings of systematic reviews. Dissemination of reliable and useful evidence-based information to practitioners is a key issue for CEE, and the decision makers have a big role both in the formulation of key questions on which to evaluate evidence and in using the results.
Collaboration for Environmental Evidence has come a long way from its inception: its guidelines for evidence reviews are widely used, it has its own journal (http://www.environmentalevidence.org) and a library of CEE endorsed systematic reviews and maps. It has six centres around the globe (the United Kingdom, South Africa, Sweden, Australia, France, and Canada) and an increasing number of contributors to the movement. As a result of this platform and the increasingly engaged community, CEE is in a position to make a significant contribution to improving environmental management, reflected in this significant milestone of its first international conference.
The conference took place in August 2016 at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm. Close to 100 participants from 14 countries gathered amongst the fascinating exhibits and beautiful architecture to share experiences about evidence synthesis in environmental management. This conference reflected and contributed to the growth of a global network of people interested in the production and use of evidence syntheses in environmental management. The conference also provided an opportunity to identify emerging themes and reflect on those ideas and perspectives to help direct future activities of CEE and the broader community. Here we provide a brief summary of key messages emanating from the conference based on input from members of the organising committee, including representatives from each of the CEE’s six centres. It is our desire that this paper will serve as a record of conference activities as well as a template for future CEE activities (i.e., where to focus time, effort, and resources). We also consider the paper to be an invitation to those that were unable to attend the conference to participate in CEE and the evidence-based environmental management movement in whichever ways resonate with them (e.g., as funders, reviewers, referees, policy-makers that use SRs, etc.).