The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is the leading intergovernmental body for assessing the state of the planet's biodiversity, its ecosystems and the essential services they provide to society. The Second Plenary Meeting of the Platform ( IPBES-2) recently met, in Antalya, Turkey. As co-leader of the international project, bioGENESIS, I was there as an official “Observer”.

Some of my impressions of the meeting are recorded in a new paper in Frontiers of Biogeography, co-authored with Lars Opgenoorth, of University of Marburg. I serve with Lars on the International Biogeography Society’s Special Committee on IPBES.

bioGENESIS is an international Project on the role of evolutionary biology in biodiversity science and policy. Over the past year or so, bioGENESIS under my leadership, has provided comments on the IPBES draft conceptual framework, contributed multiple case studies into the IPBES assessments Catalogue, consulted with members of the Multi-disciplinary Expert Panel, made input into regional IPBES consultations, and made a formal Request to the Platform.

Our suggestion to the Platform from bioGENESIS proposed a thematic assessment and synthesis addressing the multiple values of biodiversity. Such an assessment would support the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi targets 1 and 2, which call for actions to increase awareness of the values of biodiversity. The proposed assessment would help ensure that all the values of biodiversity are taken into account in policy processes. IPBES concluded that our suggestion had “High priority for inclusion in regional and global assessments” and that it be covered “in rapid methodological assessment on values”.

My main goal at IPBES-2 was to suggest changes to the initial scoping of the proposed assessment on biodiversity values. I co-produced, with the members of the Special Committee of the International Biogeography Society, and the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, an information document with suggested changes.

Our paper in Frontiers of Biogeography analysed the IPBES processes. Success for IPBES will depend on greater involvement of scientists in all relevant processes, including scoping proposed themes, writing assessments and reviewing draft assessments reports.

Dr Dan Faith
Principal Research Scientist

More information:
Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Opgenoorth, L., & Faith, D.P.  (2013) The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), up and walking. Frontiers of Biogeography, 5(4)