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Five Key Messages for IPBES from the External Review Panel

The External Review Panel, coordinated by the ISC, presented its findings to the 7th Plenary Session of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services on 29 April 2019, which was adopted by the meeting on 1 May.

Peter Bridgewater, Co-Chair of the External Review Panel presented the findings to the plenary session, noting that the World Economic Forum Global Risks Report for 2019 featured, among other global risks, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse.

The attention of business and political leaders was now focusing on these issues, and the links and feedbacks between them.  Professor Bridgewater stressed that there was a vital need for clear, unambiguous advice on the status of biodiversity and the drivers that change it, in order for policy makers and governments to address the challenges faced by Earth’s ecosystems.

The External Review Panel noted that IPBES:

  • has established its scientific credibility and made significant contributions to advancing knowledge on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
  • has major strengths which include a large membership, intergovernmental status that is inclusive of multiple sources of knowledge and of stakeholders, experimenting with using different worldviews;
  • has established fully operational governance structures and rules of procedures to deliver on its work programme and
  • has delivered successfully on an over-committed work programme despite budgetary constraints.

However, due to the “crowded field” in the sector, there were five key messages for the 7th Plenary from the External Review Panel:

  1. IPBES needs to define a vision and mission clarifying its role as a science-policy interface, and an adaptive strategy where the four functions* are seen and managed as an integrated set;
  2. IPBES should strengthen the policy aspects of its work if it is to fulfill its mandate as a science/knowledge-policy interface;
  3. IPBES needs to maintain the scientific independence while allowing for the co-design and co-production of assessments;
  4. IPBES should to develop a more strategic and collaborative approach to stakeholders and
  5. IPBES must secure its financial sustainability in the long term, if it is to have long-term effectiveness.

The presentation can be downloaded in PDF form below. More information on the External Review Panel can be found here.

The formal draft decision on the report by the Review Panel at the 7th plenary meeting can be found here.

Photo credit: Trevor Cole on Unsplash

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