The third Ad Hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-stakeholder Meeting on an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES III) met from 7-11 June 2010, in Busan, Republic of Korea. The meeting was attended by 232 delegates representing 85 countries, one observer, eight intergovernmental organizations and 21 non-governmental organizations, five conventions and six UN bodies and specialized agencies. Over the five-day meeting, delegates discussed whether to establish an IPBES and negotiated text on considerations for its function, guiding principles and recommendations. Delegates adopted the Busan Outcome document (UNEP/IPBES/3/L.2) wherebythey agreed that an IPBES should, inter alia: be established; collaborate with existing initiatives on biodiversity and ecosystem services; and be scientifically independent. They also recommended that: the UN General Assembly be invited to consider the conclusions of the meeting and take appropriate action for the establishment of an IPBES; and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council invite UNEP, in cooperation with UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Development Programme (UNDP), to continue to facilitate any ensuing process of implementing the IPBES until such time that a secretariat is established.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF IPBES AND RELATED PROCESSES
The initiative to hold consultations regarding the establishment of an IPBES emerged from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) follow-up process, and the outcomes of the International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB) process. The decision of UNEP Executive Director to hold an ad hoc intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder meeting was welcomed by the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
MILLENNIUM ECOSYSTEM ASSESSMENT: From 2001 to 2005 the MA assessed the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being, involving the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide. Published in 2005, the MA outcomes provide the first state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide, as well as the scientific basis for action to conserve and use them sustainably.
In 2006, CBD COP 8 adopted a decision on the MA’s implications for the work of the CBD, in which it encourages parties, inter alia, to use the MA framework for sub-global and national assessments. In 2007, UNEP conducted an evaluation of the MA and initiated the MA follow-up process.
IMOSEB PROCESS: The proposal for a Consultative Process Towards an IMoSEB was initiated at the Paris Conference on Biodiversity, Science and Governance, held in January 2005 (see IISD Reporting Services’ report: http://www.iisd.ca/crs/icb/). The proposal received political support from Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic at the time, and the French government.
A consultative process was launched, with an International Steering Committee, an Executive Committee and an Executive Secretariat entrusted to the Institut Français de la Biodiversité, which was established to support and facilitate discussions.
The International Steering Committee met for the first time in Paris, France, in February 2006. Participants concurred that the current system for linking science and policy in the area of biodiversity needed further improvement. A number of case studies were developed in 2006, while the idea for an IMoSEB was discussed at a number of events, including CBD COP 8 (March 2006, Curitiba, Brazil), and a workshop on “International Science-Policy Interfaces for Biodiversity Governance” (October 2006, Leipzig, Germany).
At its second meeting, in December 2006, the Executive Committee discussed the results of the case studies, and identified a series of “needs and options.” A document outlining the ideas, entitled “International Steering Committee Members’ Responses: ‘Needs and Options’ Document,” was prepared by the Executive Secretariat and distributed in January 2007. The document was designed to assist participants during a series of regional consultations.
Six regional consultations were held between January 2007 and May 2008. The North American Regional Consultation was held from 30-31 January 2007, in Montreal, Canada. The African Regional Consultation was held from 1-3 March 2007, in Yaoundé, Cameroon. In addition to discussing options for a possible IMoSEB, participants considered experts needed in Africa and potential users of an IMoSEB, as well as its institutional and financial aspects.
The European Regional Consultation was held from 26-28 April 2007, in Geneva, Switzerland. Participants identified ten needs for an IMoSEB, a possible “network of networks” structure that could enable an IMoSEB to meet these needs, and goals and guiding principles for a strategy to communicate scientific information on biodiversity.
The Asian Regional Consultation was held from 24-25 September 2007, in Beijing, China. Participants agreed on an IMoSEB in the form of an independent intergovernmental panel serving the five biodiversity-related conventions, including a multi-stakeholder component affiliated with a UN body.
The South American Regional Consultation was held from 2-3 October 2007 in Bariloche, Argentina. Participants reached broad agreement on the needs for an IMoSEB, and put forward two options for such a mechanism. The Pacific Regional Consultation was held from 19-20 October 2007 in Alotau, Papua New Guinea. Participants supported the establishment of a civil society-driven IMoSEB that would synthesize and communicate a knowledge base on biodiversity, and provide scientific advice to support decision-making at all levels.
The final meeting of the IMoSEB International Steering Committee was held from 15-17 November 2007, in Montpellier, France. The meeting reviewed the outcomes of the regional consultations and further discussed the needs and options for an IMoSEB, as well as how to improve the science-policy interface for biodiversity at all levels. In its final statement, while not recommending the formation of a new institution, the International Steering Committee agreed to invite donors and governments to provide support for the further and urgent consideration of the establishment of a science-policy interface. It further invited the Executive Director of UNEP and others to convene a meeting to consider establishing such an interface.
IPBES CONCEPT: In response to the IMoSEB outcome, UNEP decided to convene the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-Stakeholder Meeting on an IPBES. The government of France, in close consultation with experts in their personal capacity, drafted a concept note on the rationale, core mandate, expected outcomes, focus areas and operational modalities of a possible IPBES, which was made available for peer review and was subsequently revised.
The IMoSEB outcome and IPBES concept note were also considered by CBD COP 9 (May 2008, Bonn, Germany). In Decision IX/15 (follow-up to the MA), the COP welcomed the decision of the UNEP Executive Director to convene the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-Stakeholder Meeting on an IPBES, and requested the CBD Ad Hoc Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention to consider the outcomes at its third meeting, to be held in May 2010.
IPBES-I: The first Ad Hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-Stakeholder Meeting on an IPBES was held from 10-12 November 2008 in Putrajaya, Malaysia. Participants adopted a Chairs’ Summary of the meeting. In the document, the meeting recommends that the UNEP Executive Director report the meeting’s outcomes to UNEP GC-25, and requests the Executive Director to convene a second meeting. The Summary further contains two recommendations by the meeting: to continue exploring mechanisms to improve the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services for human well-being and sustainable development; and that UNEP undertake a preliminary gap analysis to facilitate the discussions, to be made available to the UNEP GC.
UNEP GC-25/GMEF: This meeting, held from 16-20 February 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya, adopted Decision 25/10 calling for UNEP to undertake a further process to explore ways and means to strengthen the science-policy interface. In response to the decision, UNEP invited governments and organizations to participate in an open peer review of the preliminary gap analysis on existing interfaces on biodiversity and ecosystem services. These comments have been incorporated in the final gap analysis of the Executive Summary.
IPBES-II: At this meeting, held from 5-9 October 2009, at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, participants exchanged views on the major findings of the gap analysis, options to strengthen the science-policy interface, functions of an IPBES and possible governance structures. Participants adopted a Chair’s Summary of Outcomes and Discussions, which highlights areas of agreement and reflects differing views expressed during the meeting. Most delegates expressed support for a new mechanism that carries out assessments able to generate and disseminate policy-relevant advice and emphasized the importance of capacity building and equitable involvement from developing countries.
UNEP GC-26/GMEF: This meeting, held from 22-24 February 2010 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, adopted a decision endorsing UNEP to organize a final IPBES meeting.
REPORT OF THE MEETING
OPENING OF THE MEETING
The third Ad hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-stakeholder Meeting on an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) opened on Monday, 7 June, in Busan, Republic of Korea. During his opening address, Achim Steiner, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, identified two key roles for an IPBES: providing a platform for intense dialogue and collective action needed to achieve an urgent and significant shift in addressing biodiversity loss; and enhancing the capacity of developing countries to contribute to global efforts. Lee Maanee, Minister of Environment, Republic of Korea, summoned delegates to support the establishment of an IPBES, promising that in the future the international community will remember them as “the heroes of that moment.” Hur Nam-sik, Mayor of Busan, expressed the hope that this meeting would strengthen international cooperation on biodiversity.
On Monday and Tuesday, delegates elected Kim Chan-woo (Republic of Korea) as chair. Robert Watson (UK), Alfred Oteng Yeboah (Ghana) and Linus Spencer Thomas (Grenada) were elected as vice-chairs by acclamation. They also adopted the provisional agenda and organization of work (UNEP/IPBES/3/1). On Tuesday, the vice-chair nominee for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Dusan Ognjanovic (Serbia), was elected.
CONSIDERATION OF WHETHER TO ESTABLISH AN IPBES
On Monday, in plenary, Ibrahim Thiaw, UNEP, introduced the document on the options for improving the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services (UNEP/IPBES/3/2).
Supporting the establishment of a unique and authoritative scientific body, Spain, on behalf of the European Union (EU), noted that several member states are committed to providing new and additional resources. She noted that an IPBES should meet the needs of governments, while taking into account inputs by other stakeholders, and catalyze capacity development. South Africa, on behalf of the African Group, expressed strong support for an IPBES. Gabon and Ethiopia highlighted that a new platform would help facilitate informed decision-making and narrow the scientific and technical gaps between developed and developing countries. The Republic of Korea emphasized that an IPBES should not generate new knowledge but rather catalyze it, while Norway stressed that, similar to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), IPBES should provide a “common voice.”
Brazil called for a multidisciplinary IPBES that supports research through in-country capacity building, and Mexico highlighted the need to take account of local- and national-level decision-making. Kenya expressed interest in establishing an IPBES that provides credible scientific information, builds capacity and integrates local, indigenous and community knowledge into decision-making.
While expressing support for an IPBES, Japan cautioned that the IPCC could offer only a limited model for a new platform because biodiversity loss exhibits a much greater regional variation than climate change. Germany, on behalf of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) German presidency, in expressing her support for an IPBES, highlighted it would be a small, lean but efficient and powerful body that serves all relevant clients and environmental agreements. The United States said that it would be difficult to decide whether or not to support the establishment of an IPBES until its scope and structure were better addressed. China emphasized that developing countries lack capacity, and, with Iran, cautioned against duplication of work between mechanisms. Iran also urged that an IPBES complement the work of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA).
New Zealand stressed that post-2010 biodiversity targets would be difficult to meet without credible, simple, and standardized scientific measurements. Yemen, Antigua and Barbuda and the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy underlined the importance of scientific independence of an IPBES. Grenada emphasized the role of an IPBES in improving science and reversing disturbing trends.
CBD, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), also expressed support for the establishment of an IPBES.
On Friday evening, vice-chair Watson invited delegates to approve text calling for the creation of “an intergovernmental science-policy platform for biodiversity and ecosystem services to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human wellbeing and sustainable development.” With Cuba and Nicaragua objecting, the meeting adopted the text. Vice-chair Watson noted that the objections of Cuba and Nicaragua would be duly noted in the report.
HOW TO STRENGTHEN THE SCIENCE-POLICY INTERFACE ON BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES:On Monday, delegates discussed three different options: to create a new intergovernmental platform that would not duplicate or substitute the mandates or programmes of work of existing Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) or UN bodies; to focus solely on strengthening existing science-policy structures of MEAs and UN bodies; or to create a new intergovernmental platform that would not duplicate or substitute the mandates or programmes of work of existing MEAs or UN bodies, and to work to strengthen, and improve coordination among, those existing structures.
Japan, Republic of Korea, and Norway said that they were willing to support either option one or option three, although Japan described the difference between the two options as unclear. Switzerland, International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), DIVERSITAS and International Council for Science (ICSU), and the EU also supported options one and three but favored the latter. Mexico, South Africa, Brazil and Iran endorsed option three, while Grenada said that he leaned towards option three but was open to other considerations. Bangladesh expressed preference for option one.
Brazil, supported by Argentina, qualified his support, stating that in the spirit of consensus building the discussion should progress slowly and that all parties should have the opportunity to declare their preference. The US, Colombia and China reiterated Brazil’s caution and said that they could not endorse a position until the scope, structure and function of an IPBES were clarified.
PROCESSES THAT A NEW PLATFORM, IF ESTABLISHED, SHOULD SUPPORT:On Monday, delegates considered four options, wherein an IPBES would respond to requests from governments conveyed through: CBD; the six biodiversity-related conventions; MEAs; or MEAs, in addition to requests from all relevant stakeholders, such as international scientific organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.
Mexico, South Africa, Grenada, Norway, Côte d’Ivoire and Japan expressed preference for option four. The Republic of Korea expressed preference for options three or four. The EU and Switzerland endorsed option four with amendments to parties who can generate requests. DIVERSITAS, ICSU and IHDP, echoed by IUCN, supported option four, noting it would address major actors and also “broaden the net.” IUCN noted that option four provides an opportunity for regional institutions to be involved, with UNESCO suggesting that it could best address the reality of current multidimensional issues.
Brazil, stressing the serious budgetary consequences of option four, preferred option one or two. Iran cautioned against broadening the mandate and functions due to budget constraints and the complexities of a large number of stakeholders, and supported option one. Indonesia and Argentina expressed support for options one or two. China clarified that at the beginning, an IPBES should have a limited mandate and channel requests of national governments through CBD, with the option of gradually broadening its scope.
On Tuesday evening and Wednesday, an informal contact group, as requested by the chair, co-chaired by Australia, Mexico and Brazil, met to find a common understanding to options on processes. On Wednesday, in plenary, Brazil highlighted that, while he and other countries preferred options one and two, they were trying to be flexible and work on the text of option four and introduced revised text, which includes reference to: responses to requests from Governments “in ways determined by MEA governing bodies and intergovernmental, international and regional scientific organizations”; and a process to receive and prioritize requests established by the plenary. Norway asked for a reference to UN bodies next to MEAs. Brazil objected, saying in the context of that sentence it did not see a role for UN bodies. EU noted he was flexible on that point. The US highlighted that an IPBES is being negotiated under the auspices of a UN body, and listing UN bodies in a different part of the paragraph as just another stakeholder diminishes their significance.
On Friday, while a number of delegates preferred to include UN bodies as parties that could present requests to an IPBES, consensus was reached to prioritize needs of governments, subject to “according special status” to the contribution of UN bodies, as called for by the African Group. New language welcoming their contribution was subsequently agreed. On inputs from other stakeholders, the US and the EU were in favor of deleting the reference to “where appropriate,” observing that this is already implicit in the phrase “take into account” and might send the wrong signal to scientists and non-governmental stakeholders interested in contributing to the platform. However, several delegates, including Iran, the African Group and Russian Federation pointed out that this language had already been agreed.
FUNCTION OR WORK PROGRAMME OF THE NEW PLATFORM: Generation of knowledge: On Wednesday, delegates discussed four options, wherein an IPBES: identifies and prioritizes key scientific information but would not undertake work to generate new knowledge; identifies and prioritizes key scientific information and facilitates dialogue to catalyze efforts to generate new knowledge, but would not directly undertake work to generate new knowledge; or would play no active role in knowledge generation. The majority of delegates expressed preference for option two.
Argentina, supported by Iran, proposed incorporating the concept of regional balance.
The EU, China, Uruguay, Republic of Korea, Iran and Brazil urged that an IPBES not generate new knowledge, with Uruguay noting this was expensive and appropriate for academic institutions. Uruguay, supported by Iran, stated that an IPBES should facilitate access to knowledge in developing countries. Vice-chair Watson, supported by Mexico, Grenada, the EU, Republic of Korea and Brazil, proposed adding reference to generating new knowledge “using existing mechanisms.” China, with the US and Australia, proposed moving the reference to “using existing mechanisms” to a chapeau, as such use applies to other functions of an IPBES. Mexico, supported by Norway and Grenada, with China objecting, proposed taking the brackets off “at various scales.”
The EU, supported by Australia, proposed referring to new “primary” knowledge, with Iran noting that adding qualifiers creates more ambiguity. The US agreed with Canada that research should be the focus and thus proposed referring to “primary research.” Vice-chair Watson suggested the phrase “would not undertake new research.”
Following a contact group, delegates agreed to change the text to “appropriate scales,” while retaining brackets on the facilitation of dialogue and the catalyzation of new knowledge.
On Friday, debate on the generation of knowledge centered on developing country access and contributions to knowledge and means for catalyzing funding for this. China, supported by Australia, Canada and the US, proposed that an IPBES “catalyze efforts to generate new knowledge by dialogues with key scientific organizations, policy makers and funding organizations,” which emphasized “catalyze” over “facilitate,” and it was adopted.
Regular and timely assessments: On Monday, delegates considered three options, wherein an IPBES would: carry out regular and timely assessments, including comprehensive global and subglobal assessments and thematic issues at appropriate scales; carry out regular and timely assessments, which would include comprehensive global, subglobal, subregional and national assessments and thematic issues at appropriate scales; or have no active role in undertaking regular and timely assessments.
Mexico backed option one and suggested that a platform could catalogue relevant assessments to avoid duplication. The African Group, supported by Brazil and Grenada, favored option one amended to authorize an IPBES to undertake subregional assessments. Supporting option one, China, the US and Japan stressed the need to take a step-by-step approach, focusing initially on international and regional levels, and to ensure the independence and transparency of an IPBES.
On Wednesday, delegates then agreed to negotiate text contained in option one. Noting that the objective of an IPBES is to enhance synergies with other biodiversity-related mechanisms, Argentina underlined the need to focus on gaps. Canada, supported by Australia, New Zealand and the US, but opposed by China, Brazil, Iran and Indonesia, proposed including a reference to “emerging” issues. Brazil, supported by China, Iran and Indonesia noted that the identification of emerging issues is policy-prescriptive, and should be determined by the plenary.
On Friday, delegates were still concerned that the identification of “emerging” issues, would invite political subjectivity, as noted by IRAN, and might require a new set of rules such as in the CBD, as noted by China, but that, as noted by several delegates, removing the term would limit an IPBES’ ability to inform policy-makers of new trends.
Brazil, Iran, and China maintained that reference to “emerging” should be deleted, but IHDP, ICSU and DIVERSITAS urged delegates to accept language enabling policy-makers to act on environmental concerns in a timely enough manner to prevent irreversible changes to biodiversity and ecosystem services. New Zealand proposed compromise text referring to “new topics identified through science at appropriate scales and referred to the plenary.” This was supported by the EU, Cameroon, Australia, Ghana, Norway, US and Russia. Brazil, supported by Iran and Argentina, insisted that new topics be “as requested by governments and MEAs approved by the plenary.” Ghana echoed the need for an IPBES to enable “immediate action,” suggesting that Brazil’s proposal was a delay tactic. Delegates finally accepted a simplified version proposed by Colombia: “new topics identified by science and as decided upon by the plenary,” which she noted would eliminate the fear of politics prejudging science.
Supporting policy formulation and implementation: On Tuesday, delegates discussed three options, wherein an IPBES would: support policy formulation and implementation by identifying policy-relevant tools and methodologies; support policy formulation and implementation by identifying and developing policy-relevant tools and methodologies; or have no active role in supporting the application of policy-relevant tools and methodologies.
Israel, China and Iran favored option two, but called for removal of bracketed text requiring an IPBES to develop policy-relevant tools and methodologies, which they described as policy prescriptive. Endorsing this option, Brazil added that there should be support for developing countries in developing such tools.
Indonesia, Mexico, the EU, Republic of Korea, Yemen, IHDP, ICSU and DIVERSITAS supported option one. The African Group favored option one as well, underscoring the need to enhance the capacity of countries to develop policy-relevant tools.
On Wednesday, in negotiations over option one, vice-chair Watson suggested the deletion of references to “other structures and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)” and “applying tools and methods.” Brazil stated that an IPBES should actively engage with tools and methods and suggested that an IPBES “promote” as well as catalyze their development. Argentina supported narrowing the extent to which an IPBES would promote and catalyze development of tools and methodologies, to which Iran proposed adding the qualifier “where necessary.”
Building capacity: Delegates debated three options for capacity building over the course of the meeting. These options focused on: the prioritization of capacity-building needs; the provision and type of support for these activities; whether language should specify if these activities relate to science; and how to catalyze funding for these activities. Delegates came to agreement on an option that determined IPBES would prioritize, support, and stimulate funding for capacity building. The remainder of the discussion addressed the language and qualifiers of this option.
Several countries including Ethiopia, China, Uganda and Grenada expressed interest in using countries’ economic needs as a means to prioritize support for capacity building. Colombia, Indonesia, Japan, Algeria, Mexico, and, later, China, agreed that the text should not prejudge prioritization for an IPBES plenary and should not assume IPBES will become a financial mechanism. But Algeria and Brazil noted that an IPBES should be able to mobilize funds when and where they are needed.
Delegates, in agreement with the vice chair, proposed broadening support to “financial and other.” The EU proposed an IPBES “call for” support rather than “provide” it, stating “provide” generates the idea that an IPBES is a financial mechanism. Iran, with South Africa and Ethiopia, proposed removing any qualifying text on the activities supported but this was not accepted.
The African Group emphasized that while an IPBES is not a funding body, its role in catalyzing funding for capacity building is critical. Vice-chair Watson suggested amending the text to read “catalyze financing for such capacity-building activities,” and, following further discussions on the consideration on funding, this was adopted.
LEGAL BASIS, GOVERNANCE AND IMPLEMENTATION STRUCTURE OF THE NEW PLATFORM:On Tuesday, delegates reviewed three options, wherein an IPBES would be established as: an intergovernmental body whose status would be distinct from the existing intergovernmental organizations but institutionally linked to one or more existing intergovernmental organizations; a body in which intergovernmental and non-governmental entities would be combined and would be distinct from the existing international organizations but institutionally linked to one or more existing international organizations; or an intergovernmental body, which would be a subsidiary body of an existing intergovernmental organization.
On Thursday, a large number of delegates supported the creation of an independent intergovernmental entity established through the UN General Assembly. With vice-chair Watson’s suggestion, delegates used “an independent intergovernmental body that is institutionally linked to existing intergovernmental organizations” as a starting text.
Extended discussion ensued on the exact description of the institutional relationship between an IPBES entity and UN bodies. The US, Colombia and Norway called for more precise language than “institutionally sponsored by” to clarify the link to the host organization. Antigua and Barbuda sought further clarification on the meaning of “sponsored by,” with Colombia, Brazil and Norway preferring the IPCC formulation “under the auspices of,” and the US, Iran and Algeria favoring the less strong and more precise term “administered by.” Norway preferred specific reference to UNEP, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UNESCO, as this would provide guidance to the UN General Assembly. UNEP, UNESCO and FAO confirmed that that they have already expressed interest in supporting an IPBES. Brazil, Iran and China felt, however, that it was not appropriate to preempt either the endorsement of these bodies’ governing councils or a final decision by the UN General Assembly and preferred to include the list in the summary report of the meeting. The US preferred replacing “UN Bodies” with “organisations, agencies, funds and programmes.”
On Friday, Norway, US, the African Group, and China agreed to delete reference to a specific list of UN institutions from the Busan Outcome text. However, US required, in lieu, that a preamble refer to considering UNEP, UNESCO, and FAO’s role and the engagement of UNDP in capacity-building for the UN system; and recommended the UNEP Executive Director to facilitate the IPBES implementation process. In the interim, Kenya proposed text requesting that UNEP assist in the establishment of an IPBES.
Governance and implementation: On Tuesday, delegates discussed options for: the plenary body and chair; and the executive and/or advisory bodies, including their composition.
On options for the modality of the plenary body, the majority of delegates supported an IPBES open to participation by all states, in addition to intergovernmental organizations and relevant stakeholders invited by the plenary, but restricted voting rights to states. Though most countries supported decisions by consensus, several expressed concern that it would be insufficient for issues of high scientific uncertainty. Delegates agreed to text specifying that a plenary of an IPBES is a decision-making body and added reference to the participation of regional economic integration organizations.
On options for either a single chair or co-chairs for an IPBES, most countries, including the African Group, Saudi Arabia and Antigua and Barbuda, supported the option of co-chairs as amended. China, Colombia, supported by Algeria, the EU, Norway, Uruguay, Uganda and others, stressed that selection should be based on professional competence and credibility. IHDP, ICSU and DIVERSITAS supported by New Zealand added science-policy balance as an additional criterion. Delegates considered the possibility of having either: two co-chairs, one from a developing country and one from a developed country; or one chair and four co-chairs and means to ensure geographic and disciplinary balance.
On the implementation functions, vice-chair Watson asked delegates to consider whether or not there should be a single body (bureau) or two separate entities (executive board and scientific panel). Brazil, Mexico, India, Uganda, Iran and Georgia, favored two separate bodies given the complexity of biodiversity and the need to draw on a broad range of expertise. ICSU, DIVERSITAS and IHDP supported the option for a bureau-only structure for efficiency reasons, but underlined that its members should be selected on rigorous technical criteria.
On the options for the implementation authority, opinions were split, with a number of delegates emphasizing guaranteeing the scientific credibility of the decision-making authority. On the composition of an executive board, Brazil and the African Group added that an executive board should reflect regional balance.
On Friday, delegates remained divided on whether to specify that decisions should be taken by consensus, with some preferring to refer to this as a general principle and defer further discussion to the first IPBES plenary. Colombia, supported by Brazil, China and Iran, proposed an amendment specifying that consensus is necessary for substantive, rather than procedural, decisions, with Brazil noting that he could not agree to text on the establishment of an IPBES without such language.
Following a contact group, delegates considered and accepted new text wherein the plenary “should in general take decisions by consensus.”
NEED FOR, LOCATION AND HOST OF A SECRETARIAT: On Tuesday, delegates reviewed four options, wherein the secretariat would be hosted by: one or more existing intergovernmental organizations within the UN; one or more existing intergovernmental organizations outside the UN; an existing intergovernmental organization whose secretariat is hosted by another organization; or one or more international NGOs. On Friday, participants agreed to the proposition by the US to defer consideration on the location and host of the secretariat to the IPBES plenary.
FUNDING: On Tuesday, delegates reviewed two options: establishing a trust fund with voluntary contributions from governments, UN agencies, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and others; or establishing a trust fund with prescribed contributions, plus voluntary contributions from UN agencies, the GEF and others, such as the private sector and foundations.
There was a spectrum of views with several countries, including Brazil, India, South Africa, Bangladesh and Uganda, preferring option two, viewed as a more predictable source of funding, but the EU, US, and Mexico, saying that they could not work with such an option. The EU suggested new text on option one specifying that funding would be “allocated by the plenary” and include other sources “such as the private sector and foundations.” China, Mexico, Colombia and others agreed on the need to specify that funding be allocated by the plenary. China, backed by South Africa, Colombia, and Brazil, supported the addition of new language in option one referring to a “core trust fund” to “receive all voluntary contributions.” Japan said that while reference to a “core trust fund” was acceptable, “all” should be deleted from the text. The US, Mexico, the EU, Kenya and others, strongly endorsed Japan’s proposal to remove “all,” with the US adding that the word would preclude a funding mechanism that has been successful with the IPCC. The US also suggested that the text refer to international organizations in addition to the GEF, which would encompass, inter alia, multilateral development banks with access to potentially greater funding than conventional sources.
Kenya and South Africa highlighted the challenge of securing predictable funding through voluntary funds. The EU said the plenary could ensure predictable funds. Ghana expressed concern that biodiversity would be unable to garner the level of funding that climate has in the IPCC, to which vice-chair Watson replied that the MA had achieved levels of annual financial support at par with that of the IPCC through voluntary contributions.
BUSAN OUTCOME DOCUMENT: The Busan Outcome document (UNEP/IPBES/3/L.2) incorporates conclusions and recommendations, including principles and considerations for the function of an IPBES.
Principles: On Thursday, the Chair presented draft text on principles of the Busan Outcome document, prepared by a friends of the chair group, including South Africa, Australia, Spain, China, New Zealand, and Colombia. Uganda wondered why the principles in the text emphasized “social and natural sciences” rather than other science disciplines. Iran proposed deleting reference to “gender equity.” Argentina expressed concern that the text lacked reference to access and benefit sharing and, with Norway, requested highlighting the importance of indigenous knowledge. The US questioned the intention of including a principle on respecting the MEAs and UN bodies, which it found irrelevant to the purpose of elevating science; and proposed describing capacity building as an “integral component” of IPBES’s work rather than language mandating it should be included in “all aspects of its work.”
On Friday, delegates considered the principle on collaborating with existing initiatives on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the draft Busan Outcome document. The US, Colombia and others supported the proposal to remove the text referring to legal status and mandates, saying that this duplicated text covered elsewhere in the principles. Norway and the African Group, opposed by Colombia on the basis of duplicative text, requested new language on collaboration on “assessments, information and capacity-building.” The US proposed adding collaboration on information “-sharing.” The US, supported by Australia and Algeria, objected to Uganda’s proposal to bracket the reference to “gaps” in assessments, noting that an IPBES is an effort to address gaps. Brazil, supported by the US, proposed to delete reference to assessments as referred to elsewhere.
On the principle of scientific independence and credibility, the EU expressed concern that it overlapped with the section on the scientific credibility of assessments. Delegates voted to retain both texts rather than delete either. Uganda stated it was a “cardinal principle” and should be listed as the first principle, to which Brazil and Norway agreed. The principle was adopted with an amendment by Indonesia to read “transparency in” rather than “transparent” decision-making.
Argentina, supported by Algeria, Iran, Peru, Brazil and Colombia, opposed the inclusion of traditional knowledge as a source for knowledge sharing under an IPBES, noting that this forum had no mandate to make decisions on behalf of indigenous communities and it would also prejudice the outcome of the CBD’s working group on access and benefit-sharing. A follow-up proposal by the African Group, supported by Norway, to recognize the contribution of local knowledge, was opposed by Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, who stressed that it does not reflect the language agreed under Article 8(j) of the CBD on traditional knowledge. Brazil further proposed inserting a reference to “non-peer reviewed literature.” Iran, opposed by Canada and Switzerland, called for the addition of “free and open access” to data and information.
On policy-relevant information and policy-prescriptive advice, Brazil, supported by China and Antigua and Barbuda, offered text saying that an IPBES “must not” be policy-prescriptive and that it must observe “the legal status and mandate of MEAs.” Colombia agreed with the word “must” but the US and the EU insisted that it be changed to “should.” Colombia, the EU, and US objected that reference to legal mandates and existing MEAs do not belong in this principle on the grounds that it is specified elsewhere.
Delegates finalized the principles of the Busan Outcome document, including principles on: capacity building; geographic balance; a multidisciplinary approach; gender equity; terrestrial, marine and inland biodiversity and ecosystem services; traditional and indigenous knowledge; and ensuring the use of national, sub-regional and regional assessments.
Conclusions and recommendations concerning an IPBES: On Friday evening, the Secretariat introduced the draft Busan Outcome, which was adopted with some amendments. On the role of UNDP, after some debate, delegates agreed to note the interest of UNDP in IPBES and its important role in capacity building. Delegates also agreed to introduce language whereby they “conclude” that an IPBES should be established to strengthen the science-policy interface for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human wellbeing and sustainable development.
Iran objected to the text on requesting an appropriate body such as UNEP to assist in working out the modalities of establishing an IPBES.
On the question of how to communicate the conclusions to the UN General Assembly, the EU suggested that the UN General Assembly be invited to endorse the conclusions of the present meeting and take appropriate actions for the establishment of an IPBES. Algeria objected, noting it is going beyond the mandate of this meeting to make a recommendation to the UN General Assembly. Kenya proposed that the UNEP Executive Director, on behalf of the UNEP Governing Council, forward the agreement reached, including outcomes and recommendations, to the UN General Assembly for its consideration. After listening to concerns of delegations, the EU sought clarification as to whether this meeting can make recommendations. The Secretariat explained that the UNEP Executive Director is authorized by the UNEP Governing Council to transmit the results of the meeting to the UN General Assembly on its behalf. The US proposed that the UNEP Executive Director, on behalf of representatives of governments to IPBES III, forward the agreement to the UN General Assembly, as mandated by the UNEP Governing Council. Colombia proposed recommending that the UN General Assembly take actions appropriate regarding the establishment of an IPBES in consideration of the outcomes of this meeting.
After a brief consultation, Australia and the EU proposed that the UN General Assembly be invited to consider the conclusions of the meeting. In a spirit of compromise, Kenya withdrew its proposal. In the text agreed by the plenary, it is recommended that the UN General Assembly is invited to consider the conclusions and the UNEP Governing Council invites UNEP, with UNESCO, FAO and UNDP, to continue facilitating the process.
Outcome:The representatives of the governments to IPBES III, inter alia:
- acknowledge the importance of: terrestrial, marine, coastal and inland water biodiversity and ecosystem services and that the science-policy interface must be strengthened; and ensuring the quality and independence of the science made available;
- note the interest of UNDP in IPBES and its important role in capacity-building; and
- conclude that an IPBES should be established to strengthen the science-policy interface for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human wellbeing and sustainable development.
On consideration of the function of an IPBES, the representatives of the governments to IPBES III agreed that it should:
- respond to requests from governments, including those conveyed to it by MEAs, related to biodiversity and ecosystem services as determined by their respective governing bodies; and establish a process in plenary to receive and prioritize requests;
- identify and prioritize key scientific information needed for policymakers at appropriate scales and to catalyze efforts to generate new knowledge;
- perform regular and timely assessments of knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services and their interlinkages, which should include comprehensive global, regional and, as necessary, sub-regional assessments and thematic issues at appropriate scales and new topics identified by science and as decided upon by the plenary. The Outcome provides that these assessments must be scientifically credible, independent and peer-reviewed, including identifying uncertainties, and there should be a clear transparent process for sharing and incorporating relevant data;
- support policy formulation and implementation by identifying policy-relevant tools and methodologies, such as those arising from assessments, to enable decision makers to gain access to those tools and methodologies, and where necessary to promote and catalyze their further development;
- prioritize key capacity-building needs to improve the science-policy interface at appropriate levels and then provide and call for financial and other support for the highest priority needs, related directly to its activities, as decided by the plenary, and catalyze financing for such capacity-building activities by providing a forum with conventional and potential funders; and
- be established as an independent intergovernmental body administered by one or more existing UN organizations, agencies, funds and programmes.
They also agreed that the plenary should: be open to participation by all member states of the UN and regional economic integration organizations; and in general take decisions by consensus by government representatives; have one chair and four vice-chairs, ensuring geographic balance; and establish a core trust fund to receive voluntary contributions from governments, UN bodies, the GEF, other intergovernmental organizations and other stakeholders, such as the private sector and foundations.
According to the principles expressed in the Outcome, an IPBES should, inter alia:
- collaborate with existing initiatives on biodiversity and ecosystem services;
- be scientifically independent and ensure credibility, relevance and legitimacy through peer review of its work and transparency in its decision-making processes;
- use clear, transparent and scientifically-credible processes;
- integrate capacity-building; and
- take an inter- and multi-disciplinary approach.
The representatives also agreed that the efficiency and effectiveness of an IPBES would be independently reviewed and evaluated on a periodic basis. They recommended that: the UN General Assembly be invited to consider the conclusions of the meeting and take appropriate action for the establishment of an IPBES; and the UNEP Governing Council invites UNEP, in cooperation with UNESCO, FAO and UNDP, to continue to facilitate any ensuing process of implementing the IPBES until such time that a secretariat is established.
CLOSURE OF THE MEETING
During the closing plenary on Friday evening, chair Chan-woo invited delegates to adopt the Busan Outcomes document. Rapporteur Spencer Thomas (Grenada) then presented the report of the meeting (IPBES/3/L.1), which was adopted by acclamation.
Vice-chair Watson applauded delegates for their flexibility and spirit of compromise, noting this agreement puts the governance of biodiversity and climate change on an equal footing. The EU expressed satisfaction with the successful outcome and noted that several member states and the European Commission have indicated their willingness to provide funding and institutional support for the new platform. Norway offered to host a secretariat on capacity building, while Kenya called for the IPBES secretariat to be hosted at UN headquarters in Nairobi. The Republic of Korea pledged to contribute to the successful launch of the IPBES and beyond.
Chair Chan-woo thanked all delegates for finalizing this historic agreement in Busan in the International Year of Biodiversity and gaveled the meeting to a close at 22:51.
FOURTH GLOBAL BOTANIC GARDENS CONGRESS: This congress will be held from 13-18 June 2010 in Dublin, Ireland. It is organized by Botanic Gardens Conservation International and its partner network organizations representing botanic gardens throughout the world. For more information, contact: the Secretariat; tel: +44-20-8332-5953; fax: +44-20-8332-5956; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.4gbgc.com/
THIRD MEETING OF THE GROUP OF FRIENDS OF THE CO-CHAIRS ON LIABILITY AND REDRESS: The third meeting of the Group of Friends of the Co-Chairs will meet from 15-19 June 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The meeting, organized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat in the framework of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, will aim to finalize negotiations on a supplementary protocol on liability and redress under the Biosafety Protocol. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=BSGFLR-03
BERN CONVENTION GROUP OF EXPERTS ON BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: This meeting will be held from 21-23 June 2010 in Reykjavik, Iceland. It is organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention). For more information, contact: Secretary of the Bern Convention; tel: +33-3-9021-5151; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/cultureheritage/nature/Bern/News/Iceland2010x.asp
IWC 62: This year’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will convene from 21-25 June 2010 in Agadir, Morocco. For more information, contact: IWC Secretariat, tel: +44-1223-233-971; fax: +44-1223-232-876; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://iwcoffice.org/meetings/meeting2010.htm
CMS SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL 16: The 16th meeting of the Scientific Council to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) will be held from 28-30 June 2010 in Bonn, Germany. For more information, contact: CMS Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2426; fax: +49-228-815-2449; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.cms.int/bodies/ScC/16th_ScC_documents_overview.htm
GEF COUNCIL MEETING: This meeting, to be held from 29 June - 1 July 2010 in Washington, DC, US, will develop, adopt and evaluate GEF programmes. For more information, contact: GEF Secretariat tel: +1-202-473-0508; fax: +1-202-522-3240/3245; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.thegef.org/gef/council_meetings/1
SECOND MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP ON THE FUTURE SHAPE OF THE CMS: This meeting will be held from 1-2 July 2010 in Bonn, Germany. For more information, contact: CMS Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2426; fax: +49-228-815-2449; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.cms.int/bodies/future_shape/future_shape_mainpage.htm
RESUMED ABS 9: The resumed session of the ninth meeting of the CBD Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing will be held in Montreal, Canada, from 10-16 July 2010. It aims to finalize work on an international ABS regime, on the basis of a draft protocol proposed by the Co-Chairs, to be submitted to CBD COP 10 for consideration and adoption. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=ABSWG-09-2ND
EXPERT MECHANISM ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES: The third session of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be held from 12-16 July 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; tel: +41-22-928-9676; fax: +41-22-928-9066; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/ExpertMechanism/index.htm
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN TRANSBOUNDARY TROPICAL FORESTS: This conference, co-organized by International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), CBD, IUCN and the government of Ecuador, will be held in Quito, Ecuador, from 21-24 July 2010. Its objective is to review the status and ways ahead for the conservation, management and financing of biodiversity in tropical transboundary conservation areas. Its results, conclusions and recommendations will feed into the CBD COP 10. For more information, contact: Hwan Ok Ma; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.itto.int/en/workshop_detail/id=2245
ECOHEALTH 2010: The Third Biennial Conference of the International Association for Ecology and Health will take place in London, UK, from 18-20 August 2010. It will bring together academic institutions, government bodies and civil society groups to discuss jointly the major challenges facing people, wildlife and ecosystems internationally in 2010 and the future. For more information, contact: e-mail: Ecohealth2010@profileproductions.co.uk; internet: http://www.ecohealth2010.org/
AD HOC WORKING GROUP OF THE WHOLE TO RECOMMEND A COURSE OF ACTION TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON THE REGULAR PROCESS FOR GLOBAL REPORTING AND ASSESSMENT OF THE STATE OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT, INCLUDING SOCIO-ECONOMIC ASPECTS: This meeting will be held on 30 August – 3 September 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. For more information, contact: DOALOS; tel: +1-212-963-3962; fax: +1-212-963-5847; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.unga-regular-process.org/
SECOND MEETING OF THE SIGNATORIES TO THE SAIGA ANTELOPE MOU: This conference is tentatively scheduled from 30 August to 3 September or 9-10 September 2010, in Mongolia. For more information, contact: the CMS Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2401; fax: +49-228-815-2449; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.cms.int/news/events.htm
WORKSHOP ON FOREST GOVERNANCE, DECENTRALISATION AND REDD+ IN LATIN AMERICA: This workshop, to be held in Oaxaca, Mexico, from 31 August - 3 September 2010, is organized by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), with a number of government collaborators. The results are expected to feed into UNFF 9. For more information, contact: CIFOR; tel: +62-251-8622-622; fax: +62-251-8622-100; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.cifor.cgiar.org/Events/CIFOR/decentralisation-redd.htm
TIGER SUMMIT: The Tiger Summit, co-hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the World Bank President Robert Zoellick, will be held on 9-12 September 2010 in Vladivostok, Russia. This summit aims at laying out an ambitious agenda for the recovery of tiger populations throughout its range. For more information, contact: WWF; tel: +41 22 364 9562; http://www.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/tigers/tiger_initiative/political_process/tiger_summit/
HIGH-LEVEL EVENT ON BIODIVERSITY: On 22 September 2010, on the eve of opening the general debate of the sixty-fifth session of the UN General Assembly, a high-level event is scheduled to mark the International Year of Biodiversity. In parallel to that event, the General Assembly has decided to convene, from 20-22 September 2010 a high-level plenary meeting on accelerating progress to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. For more information, see: http://www.cbd.int/2010/calendar/
ICES ANNUAL SCIENCE CONFERENCE: This meeting of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) will take place from 20-24 September 2010, in Nantes, France. This meeting of scientists, practitioners and policy makers will include sessions on sharks. For more information, contact: Gorel Kjeldsen; tel: +45-33-38-6700; fax: +45-33-93-42-15; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.ices.dk/iceswork/asc/2010/index.asp
COFO 20: The twentieth session of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO) will meet from 4-8 October 2010 at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in, Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: FAO Forestry Department; tel: +39-06-5705-3925; fax: +39-06-5705-3152; e-mail: COFO2010@fao.org; internet: http://www.fao.org/forestry/57758/en/
BIOSAFETY COP/MOP 5: The fifth Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety will be held from 11-15 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan. The meeting is expected to adopt rules and procedures on liability and redress in the context of Article 27 of the Protocol. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.cbd.int/mop5/
CBD COP 10: The tenth Conference of the Parties to the CBD will be held from 18-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. COP 10 is expected to: assess achievement of the 2010 target to reduce significantly the rate of biodiversity loss; adopt a protocol on ABS and a revised strategic plan for the Convention; and celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity 2010. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.cbd.int/cop10/
TWENTY-NINTH MEETING OF THE COMMISSION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF ANTARCTIC MARINE LIVING RESOURCES (CCAMLR-XXIX): This meeting will take place from 25 October to 5 November 2010, in Hobart, Australia. The Commission’s annual meeting reviews activity reports, plans, and compliance with conservation measures of member states, and addresses administration and financing considerations. For more information, contact: the CCAMLR Secretariat; +61-3-6210-1111; fax: +61-3-6224-8744; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.ccamlr.org/pu/e/cc/mtgs-intro.htm
CMS COP 10: The tenth Conference of the Parties to the CMS will be held in 2011, with dates and venue to be determined. For more information, contact: the CMS Secretariat: tel: +49-228-815-2401; fax: +49-228-815-2449; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.cms.int
RAMSAR COP 11: The eleventh Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance will take place in spring 2012, in Bucharest, Romania. For more information, contact: Ramsar Secretariat; tel: +41-22-999-0170; fax: +41-22-999-0169; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.ramsar.org
CITES COP 16: The sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will be held in 2013 in Thailand, with dates and venue to be determined. For more information, contact the CITES Secretariat: tel: +41-22-917-8139/40; fax: +41-22-797-3417; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.cites.org