Translating biodiversity science into policy is the complex challenge taken on by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. We talked to Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie about how it works and what it hopes to achieve.
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is an independent intergovernmental body, established by governments in 2012. It provides policymakers with objective scientific assessments about the state of knowledge regarding the planet's biodiversity, ecosystems and the benefits they provide to people, as well as the tools and methods to protect and use these natural assets more sustainably. IPBES was born following the release of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, in recognition of the fact that there was no mechanism to repeat this critical exercise, and to fill, over time, the gaps in the status of our knowledge about biodiversity. Following a call in 2005 by the French president for an IPCC-like mechanism for biodiversity, an international consultation process took place, involving the scientific community, policymakers and non-governmental stakeholders, first as an independent mechanism called IMoSEB (International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity) between 2005 and 2008, and then as a process under UNEP from 2008 to 2010. This led governments to agree on the establishment of an intergovernmental platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services in 2010 (the Busan outcome). The 65th session of the UN general assembly approved the establishment of IPBES in 2010, which formally took place in April 2012, in Panama. Germany currently hosts the IPBES secretariat in Bonn.