Posts Tagged ‘International policy regime’

The IPBES launched in Busan

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

The recent UNEP meeting in Busan has officially recommended the establishment of an Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES.

Diversitas reports:

Delegates agreed that IPBES will be established as an independent intergovernmental body, administered by one or more existing UN organisations. IPBES will respond to requests of government and also welcome suggestions from all relevant stakeholders, such as MEAs, scientific organisations, NGOs and the private sector. IPBES will perform regular and timely assessments of knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services. These assessments will be scientifically independent and peer-reviewed. IPBES will also support policy formulation and implementation, and place a major emphasis on capacity building needs to improve the science-policy interface.

The official launch will most likely take place during the 65th session of the UN General Assembly (on 20-30 September 2010).

A another step towards an IPBES

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

On February 26th, UNEP decided it would make a decision on the creation of the IPBES, the international platform for biodiversity and ecosystem services, in June 2010.

Hopefully, a clear governance structure will be established for the IPBES and the interface between biodiversity science and policy will be strengthened.

IPBS: It’s all about the “how”!

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

The IPBS had its second ad-hoc meeting in Nairobi on 5-9 October. Participants in the meeting shared some of their thoughts on the event in last week’s Open Science Conference by DIVERSITAS in Cape Town.

They said that everyone agreed an IPBES was needed and that hopefully the IPBES would be launched in September 2010, at the UN General Assembly. Note that 2010 is also the international year of biodiversity – can’t hurt!

However, the concrete functioning of an IPBS platform wasn’t agreed upon. It seems that it would be intergovernmental and anchored to UNEP. Being intergovernmental, national governments will be the #1 entry point into the IPBES process and effective lobbying will be essential. Speakers at Diversitas mentionned that unfortunately, participants were not necessarily well informed of the issues at stake. Their point was that the scientific community could do a better job of providing input to their country representatives.

Other questions on stand-by relate to the scientific advisory committee of the IPBS (i.e. will it have one?), its role beyond serving international conventions (can it actually provide information to national governments, civil society or the private sector?), how knowledge will be framed to make it relevant and more. These questions are all about “how”!

How you craft the policy-science interface – the platform’s governance – is key. It will be negotiated at the third and final meeting (perhaps in April 2010).

If all goes well, a clear separation will be set up between governments who request knowledge and information, and the scientific community who will have to collect and synthesize all the information, in a non-prescriptive format, for countries to decide upon. If the science gets politicized, the whole platform will be a waste of time.

Biodiversity in Europe – The message from Liège

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

On 22-24 September, representatives from government, NGOs and business met in Liège (Belgium) for the 5th Intergovernmental Conference on “Biodiversity in Europe”.

The conference produced a “Message from Liège”, in which European conservation leaders list a range of priorities and recommendations to:

  • Conserve ecosystem services
  • Address the biodiversity impacts of climate change
  • Integrate biodiversity into other sectors of society
  • A new target was suggested to “halt any further loss of species and habitats” and, by 2025, “restore degraded areas with an emphasis on links between biodiversity, ecosystem services, climate change and human well-being”.

    Opening ceremony of the 5th Intergovernmental Conference on “Biodiversity in Europe” (from the official website)

    Opening ceremony of the 5th Intergovernmental Conference on “Biodiversity in Europe” (from the official website)

    The official conference website provides a wealth of links and information in the form of background reports and documents provided to participants. In fact, the selection on offer would warrant a proper analysis in itself. Meanwhile, take your pick!

    TEEB at centre stage

    Many reports were based on the work of the TEEB project. TEEB stands for The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity. It aims to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity and the costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, using similar approach as in the Stern report for climate change.

    The TEEB interim report, published in May 2008, was summarized for workshop participants. It’s policy recommendations include expanding the polluter-pay principle to biodiversity loss and ecosystem service degradation (e.g. through the on-site or off-site compensation or offsetting of unavoidable impacts) and to create new markets for biodiversity and ecosystem services (e.g conservation or habitat banks) (see Chapter 4).

    Both instruments require a common currency for offsetting biodiversity and ecosystem services. This requires operational as well as ecologically valid and socially acceptable methods for assessing ecological equivalence. Developing these methods is currently one of the main bottlenecks to the spread of biodiversity offsets.

    Ever heard of the IPBS?

    Monday, September 21st, 2009

    The IPBS will have its second ad-hoc meeting in early October. Never heard of the IPBS?

    That’s not surprising. The IPBS – Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – is still a recent addition to the suite of international bodies concerned with biodiversity and ecosystem services. Born of the consultative process towards an international mechanism of scientific expertise on biodiversity (IMoSEB – launched in 2005 after the Paris Conference) and the follow-up process to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, it aims to replicate the successful trajectory of the IPCC for climate change in the field of biodiversity loss and sustainable use of ecosystem services. Unlike other organizations such as the Millennium Assessment or Diversitas, the IPBS would formally involve governments in its assessment process, thereby giving greater political legitimacy to its conclusions.

    A gap analysis was carried-out in preparation to the forthcoming meeting (available here) to identify the main gaps in the science-policy interface concerning biodiversity and ecosystem services. One of the findings of the analysis is that there is “(…) a lack of regular processes providing periodic, timely and policy-relevant information covering the full range of biodiversity and ecosystem service issues to the broader development community” (point #14, page 6).

    Suggested paths of information flow for the future IPBS (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)

    The cycle of science-policy interface according to the IPBS

    We will find out after the meeting how exactly the IPBS will provide the means for such close interaction between scientific knowledge and policy needs. Stay tuned!