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IPBES Takes Big Steps for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

An international science policy on biodiversity and ecosystems was recently launched
IPBES Takes Big Steps for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

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Feb 06, 2013

A new international science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystems, set up to assist governments and citizens to better understand the state, trends and challenges facing the natural world and humanity in the 21st century, has today put in place many of the administrative and staffing structures needed to implement its important work.

Over 500 delegates, including from most of the 105 Member States of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), attended the first plenary meeting of the platform (IPBES-1), held in Bonn, Germany this week.

M. Zakri, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Chairman of the Malaysian Professors' Council was "truly honoured and most humbled to be elected as the first Chair of the Platform". M. Zakri has extensive experience in biodiversity governance at the national and international levels.

The meeting also took this opportunity to elect an international group of renowned experts, the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP), which will ensure the scientific credibility and independence of the IPBES work.

IPBES-1 also decided that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will provide the Secretariat for the Platform, which will operate from Bonn in Germany and requested UNEP, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to establish an institutional link with the Platform through a collaborative partnership arrangement for the work of IPBES and its Secretariat.

M. Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director mentioned in his opening statement that "the Secretariat of UNEP is privileged to be at the service of IPBES" and that it "stands ready to contribute to the future work of the platform in close collaboration with its UN partners".

Even before IPBES can receive formal requests, expectations for the Platform are high.  Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), when delivering a joint statement of the six biodiversity-related conventions said that, "by working closely together, IPBES and the conventions can support their common objectives of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem services for human well-being." The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD has already requested IPBES to contribute to the preparation of the next global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services, to be launched in 2018, and to help countries to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.  Similarly, requests have been made from the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the Ramsar Convention to support their work on the conservation and sustainable use of migratory species of wild animals and on wetlands respectively.

Read more  at http://www.unep.org/newscentre/default.aspx?DocumentID=2702&ArticleID=9380&l=en

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