Delegates from dozens of countries met in late January to create the administrative structure for a new international initiative to provide the science necessary to inform policies on conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

During the first plenary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel was selected.  This group of renowned experts will provide oversight and scientific credibility to the initiative.

Although the specific projects that IPBES will weigh in on have yet to be determined, requests are already being fielded by other international entities. The Conventions of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity has requested IPBES to contribute to the preparation of the next global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services, to be launched in 2018, and to help countries to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.  Requests have also been made regarding migratory animals and wetlands.  IPBES’ work program is scheduled to be addressed at the second plenary meeting.

M. Zakri, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Chairman of the Malaysian Professors’ Council was “truly honoured and most humbled to be elected as the first Chair of the Platform.”  M. Zakri has extensive experience in biodiversity governance at the national and international levels.