The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is the intergovernmental body which assesses the state of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services it provides to society, in response to requests from decision makers. IPBES is placed under the auspices of four United Nations entities: UNEP, UNESCO, FAO and UNDP and administered by UNEP. Its secretariat is hosted by the German government and located on the UN campus, in Bonn, Germany. One thousand scientists from all over the world currently contribute to the work of IPBES on a voluntary basis. They are nominated by their government or an organisation, and selected by the MEP. Peer review forms a key component of the work of IPBES to ensure that a range of views is reflected in its work, and that the work is complete to the highest scientific standards.
The mission of IPBES is to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.
On 17–21 August 2015, United Nations University-IAS hosted the first meeting of nearly 140 nominated experts to launch an Asia-Pacific Regional Assessment-a critical evaluation of the state of knowledge in biodiversity and ecosystem services – conducted by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
Members of IUCN Commission on Ecosystems Management actively participated in the First Author’s meeting at UNU, Tokyo, Japan. These were Dr. Madhav Karki, Chair IUCN CEM SE Asia core committee as Co-Chair; Dr. Judy Fisher Theme Leader: Ecosystems and Invasive Species; Dr. Shalini Dhyani, Co-Lead Young Professional Network; Aidin Niamir, YPN; Dr. P.C. Abhilash and Dr. Athar Masudi.
Why IPBES matters
- Biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides are being depleted at unprecedented rates. Every day, governments and other actors around the world are making decisions which affect the biosphere with profound implications for ecosystem services and human well-being.
- The knowledge needed to shed light on the consequences at local, regional or global scales of these various decisions often lacks relevance, is incomplete and/or not accessible to decision makers.
- IPBES contributes to bridging this gap by providing a mechanism recognized by both the scientific and policy communities to synthesize, review, assess, critically evaluate and deliver relevant knowledge generated worldwide by governments, academia, scientific organizations, non-governmental organizations and indigenous communities.
- IPBES is unique in that it harnesses the power of the scientific community and other knowledge holding communities, in response to requests from decision makers, thus strengthening the dialogue between these communities, increasing the delivery of policy-relevant knowledge and, ultimately, catalyzing the formulation of knowledge-based policies.
Aim of IPBES is to strengthen the links between science and policymaking by providing assessments, policy support, and capacity building. During this five-day meeting, discussion by the participating experts centered on the six chapters of the IPBES Conceptual Framework:
- scope and methodology
- nature’s benefits to people and its impacts on quality of life
- status, trends of biodiversity and ecosystems underpinning nature’s benefits to people
- direct and indirect drivers of change in the context of quality of life
- interactions of nature and people and the role of institutions and governance; and
- Options for decision making across scales and sectors.
The entire assessment process will take three years, with the final report, including a summary for policymakers, scheduled for submission to the IPBES Plenary in 2018. Based on existing peer-reviewed literature, grey literature and indigenous and local knowledge, the report will serve as a valuable tool for effective formulation and implementation of policy related to the sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services at the regional, sub-regional and national levels. The report will also become one of the building blocks for subsequent global assessments.