United Nations Forms New Entity to Study, Preserve Biodiversity

After several years of negotiations, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was formally established.  The new independent body will be hosted in Bonn, Germany.

IPBES aims to address the accelerating loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystem services around the globe by bridging the gap between accurate and impartial science and policymakers.

“Today, biodiversity won,” said Sir Robert Watson, Chief Scientific Advisor of the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs in a statement on 23 April.  “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 will provide four core functions: 1) identify and prioritize key scientific information needed for policymakers and catalyze efforts to generate new knowledge; 2) perform regular and timely assessments of knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services; 3) support policy formulation and implementation by identifying policy-relevant tools and methodologies; and 4) prioritize key capacity-building needs to improve the science-policy interface.

IPBES is “critically important to support implementation of the new Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity and to promote global sustainable development,” stated Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.  “We believe that IPBES can help ensure that developing countries and communities have access to sound scientific information to inform development policies, protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services in a way that addresses poverty alleviation and promotes growth with equity.”