Global science-policy platform takes shape


The Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is a new global initiative designed to bring the scientific and policy communities closer together to identify and catalyse knowledge required for effective environmental decision-making.  The underpinning principles of IPBES include working closely with existing global and regional bodies to build on the work already being done, bringing different scientific disciplines together to jointly build greater understanding of the socio-economic relevance of biodiversity and ecosystems, and making greater use of existing knowledge.


IPBES will respond to requests for scientific information related to biodiversity and ecosystem services from governments, relevant multilateral environmental agreements and United Nations bodies, as well as other relevant stakeholders.  The work programme comprises four complementary activities:

  • identifying knowledge needs and catalysing its generation;
  • assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services;
  • development of policy tools and methodologies; and
  • capacity building.    


The first plenary of the platform took place in Nairobi, Kenya, in early October 2011, attended by 112 countries, five intergovernmental organisations, 33 NGOs and three conventions.  The focus of this meeting was around the legal basis of the platform, governance structures and functions, administrative arrangements and bringing it into operation; significant progress was made, but there remain some critical issues to agree at the next plenary.  In addition, agreement was reached on the need for inter-sessional development of options for the work programme.


The second plenary will take place in mid April 2012 and there is considerable inter-sessional work being done to support decision making at this meeting. International workshops to help inform the detailed scope of the work programme are also planned for later this year, including on ‘policy tools and methodologies’ and ‘assessments’.  Of particular importance for JNCC is the work programme of the platform; JNCC is working closely with Defra in defining the UK position and in EU coordination.  To help in developing the UK approach to IPBES, and to facilitate involvement of the UK science community, a UK Stakeholder Group has been established; JNCC will seek views from the wider government, agency, science, NGO and stakeholder community via events and consultations with this group.


For more information see the IPBES website. To learn more about UK events and consultations see the JNCC website.


Contact File


Helen Baker

Acting Head of Sustainabillity Advice

Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866820


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