Top global platform on biodiversity and its benefits established

24 April 2012 | News story

After several years of international negotiations, the final operational design of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was agreed upon during the Second Plenary Session to build IPBES held in Panama City, Panama, from 16-21 April 2012.

“Biodiversity won!” says Professor Sir Robert Watson, Chair of the meeting, Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). “Over 90 governments successfully established the science-policy interface for all countries. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are essential for human wellbeing. This platform will generate the knowledge and build the capacity to protect them for this and future generations.”

IPBES aims to tackle the accelerating worldwide loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystem services by bridging the gap between science and policy-makers.

IUCN, due to its extensive experience with science, knowledge and policy tools on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and its nature as a multi-stakeholder union bringing together over 1,200 government and non-government member organizations and engaging 12,000 scientists in a unique knowledge network of 6 Commissions, has a lot to offer to IPBES. Having contributed to the negotiation process for the establishment of IPBES since 2008, IUCN is ready, willing, and able to support the work of IPBES.

“We are delighted that IPBES is now officially established after some difficult negotiations,” says Dr Cyriaque Sendashonga, Head of the IUCN Delegation in Panama, IUCN Global Director of Programme and Policy Group. “IUCN also welcomes the establishment of the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel as one of the subsidiary bodies of IPBES, and we look forward to further engaging in the ongoing development of the IPBES programme of work.”

Dr Jane Smart, Member of the IUCN Delegation in Panama, IUCN Global Director of Biodiversity Conservation Group underlines that “it is really important to build on existing knowledge. Many of the stakeholders, including IUCN, have built up a wealth of data over several decades which we would be very pleased to make available to this new science-policy platform. Such information comes from a diverse range of social and biophysical scientific communities.”

Dr Sendashonga adds: “During the discussions last week, it became apparent that there is a real need to increase understanding of how the wealth of existing data sets, knowledge products and information can be interpreted and used, especially to support the development of appropriate policy responses. IUCN therefore takes this opportunity to further commit to exploring improved forms of communication, outreach and capacity support that will enable IPBES and its member governments to make the best use of the knowledge products that we provide.”

For more information on the establishment of IPBES, please visit the official IPBES website

For more information on IUCN’s vision and contribution to IPBES, please visit the IPBES section on the IUCN website or write to ipbes[at]iucn.org.