The second session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) opens today in Antalya, Turkey and will continue until 14 December. The conference will consider various agenda items related to the initial programme of work of the Platform, 2014-2018; a conceptual framework; an outreach and communication strategy; financial and budgetary arrangements for the Platform; rules and procedures for the operation of the Platform; institutional arrangements, including the UN collaborative partnership arrangements for the work of the Platform and its Secretariat; and the agenda, dates and venue of future sessions of the plenary.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF IPBES
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.
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 conditions 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, the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP) in Curitiba, Brazil, 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. The proposal received political support from the then French President Jacques Chirac 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 improvement. A number of case studies were developed in 2006, while the idea for an IMoSEB was discussed at a number of events, including at CBD COP 8, and a workshop on “International Science-Policy Interfaces for Biodiversity Governance” in Leipzig, Germany, in October 2006.
At the second meeting of the International Steering Committee, held in December 2006, the Executive Committee reported on the results of the case studies and identified a series of “needs and options.” A document outlining key 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 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 convened an Ad Hoc 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 subsequently revised.
The IMoSEB outcome and the IPBES concept note were also considered in 2008 by CBD COP 9. In Decision IX/15 (follow-up to the MA), the COP welcomed the decision of the UNEP Executive Director to convene an Ad Hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-Stakeholder Meeting on an IPBES, and requested the CBD Ad Hoc Working Group on Review of Implementation to consider the meetings’ outcomes.
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 Chair’s summary, which recommended that the UNEP Executive Director report the meeting’s outcomes to the twenty-fifth session of the UNEP Governing Council (GC-25) and convene a second meeting. The summary contained two additional recommendations: 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: The 25th session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC-25/GMEF), held in February 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, adopted Decision 25/10 calling on UNEP to conduct further work to explore ways and means to strengthen the science-policy interface on biodiversity. 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 received were incorporated in the final gap analysis.
IPBES-II: At this meeting, held from 5-9 October 2009, 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 highlighted areas of agreement and reflected the differing views expressed during the meeting. Most delegates expressed support for a new mechanism that carries out assessments and generates and disseminates policy-relevant advice, and emphasized the importance of capacity building and equitable participation from developing countries.
UNEP GCSS-11/GMEF: The 11th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/GMEF held in February 2010, Bali, Indonesia, adopted a decision calling on UNEP to organize a final meeting to establish an IPBES.
IPBES-III: At this meeting, held from 7-11 June 2010, in Busan, Republic of Korea, delegates discussed whether to establish an IPBES and negotiated text on considerations for the platform’s functions, guiding principles and recommendations. They adopted the Busan Outcome, agreeing that an IPBES should be established and be scientifically independent, calling for collaboration with existing initiatives on biodiversity and ecosystem services. It was also agreed that the UN General Assembly (UNGA) be invited to consider the conclusions of the meeting and take appropriate action for establishing an IPBES.
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY: UNGA Resolution 65/162 requested UNEP to fully operationalize the platform and convene a plenary meeting to determine the modalities and institutional arrangements for the platform at the earliest opportunity.
UNEP GC-26/GMEF: This meeting, held from 21-24 February 2011, in Nairobi, Kenya, adopted Decision 26/4, which endorsed the outcome of IPBES-III and called for convening a plenary session for IPBES to determine the modalities and institutional arrangements of the platform.
1ST SESSION OF PLENARY FOR AN IPBES: The first session of the plenary meeting on IPBES met from 3-7 October 2011, at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Delegates considered the modalities and institutional arrangements for the IPBES, including: the functions and operating principles of the platform; legal issues relating to the establishment and operationalization of the platform; the work programme of the platform; and the criteria for selecting host institutions and the physical location of the Secretariat.
2ND SESSION OF PLENARY FOR AN IPBES: The second session of the plenary meeting on IPBES took place from 16-21 April 2012 in Panama City, Panama. Delegates considered the modalities and institutional arrangements for the IPBES, including functions and structures of bodies that might be established under the platform, rules of procedure, and the work programme of the platform. Delegates selected Bonn, Germany, as the physical location of the IPBES Secretariat and adopted a resolution establishing IPBES.
IPBES-1: The first session of the plenary of the IPBES met from 21-26 January 2013, in Bonn, Germany. Delegates: elected the IPBES Chair, the Bureau and the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP); adopted an initial budget; and agreed on steps toward the development of an initial IPBES work programme, 2014-2018. Other issues that were discussed but remained unresolved included the rules of procedure on the admission of observers.
IPBES FIRST MEP AND BUREAU MEETING: The first meetings of the MEP and the Bureau were held from 1-6 June 2013 in Bergen, Norway. Issues discussed included the IPBES work programme, 2014-2018.
EXPERT WORKSHOP ON THE CONTRIBUTION OF INDIGENOUS AND LOCAL KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS TO THE IPBES AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: The expert workshop was held from 9-11 June 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. Participants provided key messages for IPBES consideration on procedures and approaches for working with and integrating indigenous and local knowledge systems.
REGIONAL MEETINGS ON THE IPBES: Different regional meetings were held to, inter alia: gather regional inputs to the IPBES’ work programme, 2014-2018; develop an active network of institutions contributing to the IPBES’ work; and identify possible partnerships to strengthen sub-regional and regional biodiversity and ecosystem services assessments. The Latin American and Caribbean regional consultation meeting convened from 11-13 July 2013, in São Paulo, Brazil; the pan-European stakeholder consultation convened in Leipzig, Germany, from 16-18 July 2013; the African regional consultation met from 22-24 July 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya; the Eastern European regional consultation meeting was held from 31 July -2 August 2013 in Budapest and Tihany, Hungary; and the Asia-Pacific regional consultation meeting was held on 3 September 2013 in Seoul, Republic of Korea, back-to-back with the Workshop on Regional Interpretation of the IPBES Conceptual Framework and Knowledge Sharing.
EXPERT WORKSHOP ON THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR IPBES: The expert workshop on the conceptual framework was held from 25-26 August 2013, in Cape Town, South Africa. The workshop provided the basis for a recommendation by the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP) on a conceptual framework to be considered for adoption at IPBES-2.
IPBES SECOND MEP AND BUREAU MEETING: The meetings were held from 27-31 August 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. Participants continued consideration of possible recommendations to be considered by IPBES-2 on, inter alia: the MEP regional structure and composition; conceptual framework for an IPBES; a communications strategy; and the IPBES work programme for 2014-2018.
INFORMAL CONSULTATION ON IPBES AND CAPACITY BUILDING: The informal consultation meeting on IPBES and capacity building was held from 4-6 November 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Participants sought to further the understanding on how capacity building could and should be addressed in the context of IPBES and the needs and opportunities for capacity building.