Correspondence | Published:

Social sciences

IPBES disciplinary gaps still gaping

Nature volume 530, page 160 (11 February 2016) | Download Citation

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) convenes this month to approve summaries for policymakers of the first assessments at its fourth plenary.

Despite early calls for IPBES to draw on a broader range of disciplines than did the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (see E. Turnhout et al. Nature 488, 454–455; 2012), the social sciences and the humanities remain markedly under-represented. They make up less than 10% of the membership of IPBES expert groups, instead of the recommended 30%. These disciplines should play a bigger part in IPBES assessments and in implementing the first IPBES work programme for 2014–18.

The imbalance mirrors institutional and knowledge barriers between research disciplines. The IPBES Secretariat and its Multidisciplinary Expert Panel need to consult more experts from the social sciences and humanities for nominations for assessments. The panel should encourage these stakeholders to engage in scoping and reviewing activities and to register on IPBES networking sites.

One of the IPBES objectives is to include experts with “balance in the terrestrial and marine natural sciences, social and economic sciences, and arts and humanities”. The secretariat should review the disciplinary balance of all IPBES activities and products, and make the findings publicly available.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. University of Cambridge, UK.

    • Alice B. M. Vadrot
  2. Philipps University Marburg, Germany.

    • Jens Jetzkowitz
  3. University of Leeds, UK.

    • Lindsay C. Stringer

Authors

  1. Search for Alice B. M. Vadrot in:

  2. Search for Jens Jetzkowitz in:

  3. Search for Lindsay C. Stringer in:

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lindsay C. Stringer.

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/530160b

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing