Posts Tagged ‘IPBES’

The IBPES is established – Is it all good news?

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was officially created on April 23rd. It’s secretariat will be based in Bonn (Germany).

In brief, the ambition of the IPBES is to replicate the IPCC’s role in the climate debate in informing the sustainable use / conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. That’s appears to be an even more challenging goal that limiting green-house gas concentrations…

Establishing the IPBES is certainly a victory for biodiversity and conservation worldwide, with greater scientific input into decisions that affect biodiversity across the globe. Nevertheless, this victory will certainly come at a cost.

Two issues are worth considering:

  • Who will pay for this? If its workings are comparable to those of the IPCC, then funding IPBES will require a lot of money. Unfortunately, the funds for running the IPBES will most likely have to be taken from existing public funding for conservation. Deciding which programs will loose out (on-the ground actions? research?) will be tricky.
  • How legitimate will it be on the ground? The IPBES is clearly set in a vision of natural resource management that subscribes to the technogarden scenario of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. One can easily imagine that – as is the case for the IPCC – not everyone will want to have scientists, mostly from the developed world, monitor their activities and publish recommendations and guidelines on how to minimize biodiversity impacts or enhance ecosystem services.
  • Concerning this second issue, Morgan Robertson puts it nicely in his blog:

    one person’s ecosystem services are another person’s conditions of biological existence, and to have them continuously monitored, valued and recorded is… unsettling. At the very least — regardless of the merits of the conservation actions — it unavoidably creates an unequal power relationship (or, more likely, reinforces an already-existing one) between the monitor and the monitored.

    This is worth remembering. As was often remarked by those involved in launching the IPBES, the devil lies in the governance structure. As always!

    The science of IPBES in Science…

    Friday, February 18th, 2011

    Science magazine published today a policy article about the challenges facing the recently launched Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

    The authors, all of which are key players in the international earth systems science partnership, present the three key challenges for IPBES to reach its goals:

  • Strengthening the science
  • Strengthening assessments
  • Strengthening policy relevance
  • In discussing these challenges, they insist on the need to broaden their partnerships and in particular to seek more input from the policy community, from less developed nations and the social sciences.

    Greater involvement by social sciences is justified by the need to better incorporate “values” of biodiversity and ecosystem services in order to strengthen policy relevance. The authors argue that this valuation step was missing in the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment but put forward by the TEEB initiative in 2010. Let us hope that the IPBES will keep a critical outlook on this agenda.

    Merry Christmas to the new-born IPBES!

    Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

    The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was officially launched on December 21 by the UN General Assembly. Check out the press release on the UNEP website.