Biodiversity: squabbles don’t obscure the bigger picture

Potomac, Maryland, USA.

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You call on the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to heal “rifts” within the academic community, for example over the concepts and terminology around ‘ecosystem services’ and ‘nature’s contributions to people’ (see Nature 560, 409; 2018). As chair of IPBES, I stress that both parties are united in their goal to secure a sustainable future for nature and for people.

No matter which conceptual framework is used, the message remains the same: all human societies depend on nature and on the cultural, spiritual, societal and economic benefits it provides. If the natural world continues to degrade, everyone will suffer.

IPBES recognizes that inclusive and constructive discussion is crucial for a better understanding of the global challenges we face, and for reaching a consensus on the key issues. It has therefore always embraced a diversity of views to stimulate and challenge thinking within the academic community.

Including a wide range of stakeholders, knowledge holders and decision-makers from a variety of backgrounds — geographic; gender; and disciplinary, including natural and social sciences, the humanities and people with local and indigenous knowledge — is essential for producing credible and legitimate assessments to inform decision-making.

Already, experts from a wide range of crucial programmes, projects and organizations (including those you mention) are participating in the preparation and rigorous peer review of IPBES assessments.

Nature 561, 309 (2018)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-06735-0

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