Engaging the most relevant experts in the IPBES work is one of the greatest challenges that this new platform is facing. Following the invitation from the IPBES State Members, IUCN and the International Council for Science (ICSU) are proposing a strategy to ensure appropriate stakeholder involvement in line with the IPBES purposes and principles.
As the first step, IUCN and ICSU called for stakeholder inputs, views, best practices and recommendations on the engagement of different parties in science-policy settings. More than 300 interested organisations - active not only in scientific research but also in resource management, conservation planning and social advocacy - participated in this survey.
"Two-thirds of all respondents declared that their organisation is ready to establish a partnership with IPBES. This is an encouraging momentum for the platform to build on their work," says Pierre Commenville, Programme Officer at the IUCN's Science and Knowledge Management Unit.
As the next step, IUCN and ICSU recently co-organised a workshop gathering experts with experience and knowledge in the engagement of researchers, conservationists, indigenous peoples, local communities and the private sector. Together, they produced the first version of a draft stakeholder engagement strategy to support the implementation of the IPBES work programme. This document will be submitted to IPBES authorities and will be open for a public consultation in June 2013.
"Many organisations and groups can contribute and use the work programme of IPBES as it reflected in the draft statekholder engagement strategy. The workshop showed that it is possible and profitable to involve them from the outset to the implementation," adds Mr Commenville. The document also contains other ideas such as guidelines to map relevant contributors before each IPBES activity and includes a list of suggested activities to stimulate and maintain engagement of interested groups.
Mr Commenville assures: "No doubt, this first draft will arrive on the IPBES desk right on time, when the decisions on the work programme are being prepared."
The detailed findings of the IPBES stakeholder survey can be accessed here.
Additional coverage of the process can be found on the SciDev.Net network.