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Writing on behalf of the authors of the biodiversity section of the latest Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) from the United Nations Environment Programme, to be released in March 2019 (see go.nature.com/2b9fp9o), we are concerned about your discussion on the progress of the IPBES assessment (see Nature560, 423–425; 2018). It risks diverting attention away from the scientific consensus on the perilous status and trends of biodiversity worldwide (see, for example, go.nature.com/2rttvwn).