23 April 2019
First Work Programme of IPBES Will Culminate in the Release of the #GlobalAssessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
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Since its inception in 2012, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has released seven assessment reports that have informed national and international decision-making for people and nature.

The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services marks the completion of the Platform’s first work programme.

Together with previous IPBES reports and other assessments, the Global Assessment will inform the assessment of the Aichi Biodiversity targets in 2020 as well as the discussions on the post 2020 biodiversity framework.

The seventh Plenary session of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is expected to release the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the last deliverable of the first IPBES work programme.

Some history

IPBES was established in Panama in 2012 by more than 100 governments. The aim of the Platform, like its older “sibling,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is to critically review available knowledge, and to provide this knowledge to policy-makers, to inform better decision-making and action for people and nature.

The focus of IPBES is on biodiversity and ecosystem services. In addition to the major expert assessments that IPBES undertakes, it also builds capacity, supports policy and catalyzes the generation of new knowledge on gaps identified in its reports.

The IPBES Fellowship programme, for instance, is one of the Platform’s most successful capacity-building initiatives. It funds early career scientists from developing countries to participate as authors in the IPBES assessments, under the guidance of senior author mentors. Since the start of the programme, 74 Fellows have been appointed, from more than 1,000 applications.

IPBES adopted its first work programme, for the period 2014-2018, at the second session of its Plenary, in December 2013. There are now 132 Governments that are IPBES Members, and the Platform also engages with a wide range of non-governmental stakeholders, including conservation organisations, business and industry representatives, scientific organizations and many others.

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 provides good examples of the impact of IPBES Assessments. Its findings informed national legislation on pollinators, supported the adoption of a Plan of Action for the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable use of Pollinators by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and inspired the unanimous declaration by the UN General Assembly of 20 May every year as World Bee Day.

In 2018, at its sixth Plenary, IPBES released four Regional Assessment Reports on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (one each for Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the Americas and Europe and Central Asia), as well as its Assessment Report on Land Degradation and Restoration. All five assessments have seen significant policy uptake and impact.

The science-policy context

IPBES responds to the needs of governments, biodiversity-related conventions and other conventions, including the CBD, as well as to the needs its of non-governmental stakeholders.

All seven of the already-published IPBES Assessments, and the soon-to-be-released IPBES Global Assessment Report, will contribute to the 5th Global Biodiversity Outlook of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and form the scientific basis for CBD COP 15, to be held in late 2020, to assess the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and to consider the post-2020 framework for biodiversity. The Reports will also provide a vital knowledge-base for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainability.

How do IPBES assessments work?

IPBES assessment reports take, on average, about three years to produce. They are composed of two parts: a short (20-40 page) Summary for Policymakers (SPM), including a set of key messages and policy options; and a long document (several hundred pages), organized into chapters, containing the technical information to substantiate the messages in the SPM.

The reports are produced by scientists and other knowledge holders (e.g. holders of indigenous and local knowledge). These experts are proposed by their governments or by organizations, and are selected, based on their experience, by the IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP). The MEP is composed of scientists that are themselves elected by the Plenary of IPBES, in consultation with the Bureau. The experts contribute their time freely to IPBES. Each report involves three expert meetings, and two rounds of open review, first by peers and then, by governments and peers.

The time contributed voluntarily to IPBES by the more than 1,000 experts who have already been involved, is one of the key assets of the Platform. IPBES has estimated that, from 2014 to 2018, these collective in-kind contributions amounted to between 24 and 47 million US dollars.

#IPBES7 about to begin in Paris

About 800 participants, including representatives of more than 130 governments and of numerous organizations, will meet on Monday, 29 April 2019, in Paris at UNESCO, for the start of the seventh Plenary session of IPBES, in response to an invitation from the Government of France.

#IPBES7 expected to approve the #GlobalAssessment on 4 May

IPBES will release the #GlobalAssessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, prepared over the past three years by 145 expert authors, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors, having critically reviewed about 15,000 scientific and government sources. The report formulates key messages related to the status and trends of biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people, plausible futures for biodiversity, and, importantly, options for action. It will also form the scientific basis for CBD COP-15 to decide whether the Aichi Targets have been reached, and what to do next.

Following consideration by the IPBES Plenary, and a word-by-word approval of its Summary for Policymakers, the final version of the Summary, a product of the interactions between governments and the authors, will be publicly released at a media conference on Monday, 6 May, at 13:00 (CEST). This will represent the culmination of the first IPBES work programme.

Other major items on the agenda of #IPBES7

Other major issues on the agenda of #IPBES7 include a consideration of the outcome of the external review of IPBES, and of the next work programme for IPBES, up to 2030; as well as progress reports on all other areas of work of IPBES. [IPBES Website] [SDG Hub Story on #GlobalAssessment] Contact: media@ipbes.net

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