UN green light for science-policy platform on biodiversity

22 December 2010 | News story

IUCN welcomes the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly yesterday to establish a new international body designed to boost the global response to the loss of the world’s biodiversity and ecosystems.

The new independent body, the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) aims to bridge the gulf between the wealth of scientific knowledge about the accelerating degradation of the natural world and government action needed to reverse it. IPBES is being widely compared to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has helped global understanding and action on climate change.

“This is a wonderful way to end the International Year of Biodiversity and this resolution adds to the big achievements of the Convention on Biological Diversity conference in Nagoya in October,” says Cyrie Sendashonga, Director of IUCN Programme and Policy.

One of the roles of IPBES will be to carry out high-quality peer reviews of the science of biodiversity and ecosystem services emerging from research carried out around the world. It will ensure that governments are armed with the best information on which to base their decisions and outline the various policy options that are open to them.

IUCN has been a strong supporter of the establishment of IPBES and is playing a key role in its development through its commissions of experts on species, ecosystem management and protected areas.

“We still have a lot of work ahead of us to promote the implementation of IPBES in a way that reflects what IUCN would like to see, including the involvement of civil society in the new body and IUCN playing a role in the hosting of its distributed secretariat. The involvement of all components of IUCN will be needed to promote and support IPBES,” adds Sendashonga.

Yesterday’s resolution calls on the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to take the necessary steps to put IPBES into operation by convening its first plenary in 2011. This will build on the groundwork laid during a series of meetings earlier this year.

The decision should provide further impetus to the International Year of Forests which begins in January 2011, and the international decade of biodiversity, also starting in January 2011.

This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.