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IPBES assessments, including regional assessments, the assessment on scenarios, and the upcoming global assessment, will contribute to the Fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-5) of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and to assessing progress, or lack thereof, towards achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

These reports also provide a knowledge base for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.

IPBES 6 will release four regional reports on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia, and an assessment report on land degradation and restoration.

IPBES, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, was established in Panama in 2012 by more than 100 Governments. The aim of IPBES, like its older sister, IPCC, is to critically review available knowledge, and to provide this knowledge to policymakers, in response to their requests, to inform better decision-making. The focus of IPBES is on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

A bit of history

IPBES adopted its first work programme, for the period 2014-2018, at the second session of its Plenary in December 2013. It currently has 128 Governments as Members, and involves, in its work, many non-governmental stakeholders (including conservation NGOs, private sector representatives, scientific organizations etc.).

IPBES released its first two assessment reports, on pollinators, pollination and food production, and on scenarios and models of biodiversity and ecosystem services at its fourth Plenary session in 2016. The Pollination Assessment Report has already been used to inform national legislation on pollinators and formed the basis for a decision of COP 13 of the Convention on Biological Diversity related to pollinators. In November 2017, the United Nations General Assembly also unanimously adopted 20 May as World Bee Day, with specific reference to the IPBES Pollination Assessment.

The science and policy context of IPBES

IPBES responds to the needs of Governments, of biodiversity-related conventions and other conventions, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, and of non-governmental stakeholders.

The outcome of the IPBES assessments, including regional assessments, the assessment on scenarios, and the upcoming global assessment (due to be released in 2019), will contribute to the Fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-5) of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and to assessing progress, or lack thereof, towards achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. They will also contribute to the discussions on the new Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2021-2030. In addition, and very importantly, it is foreseen that these reports will provide a knowledge base for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

How does IPBES work?

The most visible element of the IPBES work programme is the publication of assessment reports. These reports typically take three years to produce and are comprised of two parts: a short summary for policymakers (SPM), including a set of key messages (10 to 20 pages), and a long document (several hundred pages), organized into chapters, containing the technical information to substantiate the messages of the SPM.

These reports are produced by scientists and other knowledge holders (e.g. holders of local or of indigenous knowledge). These experts are proposed by their Government or an organization, and selected, based on their CV, by the IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel, made up of scientists, themselves elected by the Plenary of IPBES. The IPBES experts carry out the bulk of their work from their home institutions, and contribute their time freely. Each report involves three meetings of experts, and two rounds of external review, first by peers and then, by Governments and peers.

The time contributed voluntarily to IPBES by the more than 1,000 experts who has thus-far been involved, represents one of the key assets of IPBES. IPBES has estimated that between 2014 and 2017 this represented a collective in-kind contribution of between 19 and 38 million dollars.

#IPBES6 about to begin in Medellin

About 750 participants, including representatives of 116 countries and of numerous organizations, will meet in a few days in Medellín, Colombia, at the session of the IPBES Plenary (#IPBES6), in response to an invitation from the President of Colombia. This Plenary will have an extremely ambitious agenda, with IPBES set to release five new assessment reports.

Five new IPBES assessment reports to be released at #IPBES6

IPBES will release a set of four regional reports on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia, and an assessment report on land degradation and restoration. These reports, prepared by about 600 leading global experts, have critically reviewed many thousands of scientific publications and other sources and forms of knowledge. They each formulate a set of key messages related to the status and trends of biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people, plausible futures for biodiversity, and, importantly, on options for action. Following consideration by the Plenary, and a word by word approval of the SPMs of these assessments, the final versions of the reports, resulting from interactions between Governments and the authors of the reports, will be launched at two media conferences, and then published.

Other major items on the agenda of #IPBES6

Other major issues on the agenda of #IPBES6 include a preliminary discussion on plans for a second work programme for IPBES, to be approved at the 7th session of the Plenary in May 2019; a decision on the initiation of three possible future assessment reports on invasive alien species, sustainable use of biodiversity and on the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services; and progress reports on other important areas of work for IPBES including on the global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services, capacity building and scenarios and models of biodiversity and ecosystem services.


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