The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)



JNCC brings together national and European experts on globally-important work on biodiversity and ecosystem services through the delivery of the UK IPBES Stakeholder Engagement Hub.  Our staff, working with colleagues from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, shape the work of IPBES and support 50 UK experts in their contributions to IPBES Assessments- these cover a diverse range of topics from pollinators and pollination to modelling and scenarios. 

We represent the UK's interests at both the annual IPBES Plenary and at the extensive programme of stakeholder meetings and workshops supported by experts in this field.  On a practical level, we are responsible for reviewing IPBES papers and assessments, and organising meetings to engage UK experts and stakeholders.



IPBES eLearning Module

The first eLearning module has been released by the IPBES secretariat.  The eLearning module, which is based on the IPBES conceptual framework, is now available from

It has been designed to help assessment practitioners at sub-national to global scales to understand and apply the IPBES conceptual framework within the context of a national assessment or an IPBES assessment (global, regional, thematic, methodological). The eLearning module comprises of three 30-40 minute lessons and can be used on desktop computers and tablets, as well as offline.


Feedback from IPBES-3  12 -17 January 2015

IPBES-3 was proclaimed a “landmark” in the Platform’s history by its Chair Mr Zakri Abdul Hamid and was attended by 145 Governments and an equal number of organizations.  The need for the provision of sound scientific information to policymakers is becoming increasingly urgent with the current decline in biodiversity 100 to 1000 times greater than the natural rate.  There has been considerable activity across the platform in the past year with progress being made on all 18 of the deliverables set out in the work programme 2014-2018.  The year 2014 also saw the establishment of 14 experts groups (which for example scoped assessments and developed tools), 20 meetings and the selection of 500 experts from nearly 1700 nominees.


The plenary was highly productive with agreement on a wide raft of issues being achieved.  In order to provide context the four objectives at the heart of the IPBES process are reiterated here accompanied by progress under each at IPBES-3.


Objective 1: Strengthen capacity and knowledge foundations of the science-policy interface to implement IPBES functions.

 This includes identifying priority capacity building needs, developing procedures and approaches for working with indigenous and local knowledge systems, and, the identification and subsequent action undertaken to fill priority knowledge and data needs.  Progress on capacity building at IPBES-3 included the agreement of a list of priority capacity building needs and the initiation of a pilot programme on fellowship, exchange and training.  With regards to building strong knowledge foundations it was decided to continue piloting approaches to gathering indigenous and local knowledge.  Further, the data and management plan which sets out the platforms approach to collecting, collating and disseminating data was also approved


Objective 2: Strengthen the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services at and across the sub-regional, regional and global levels

 Outcomes mandated under this objective include the production of a global assessment and regional/ sub-regional assessments on biodiversity and ecosystem services.  Consequently, the first step is to develop guidance on production and integration of the assessments across scales.  Under this objective progress at IPBES-3 on the global assessment included the initiation of the scoping process.  This assessment will be built on the basis of a compilation and synthesis of the thematic, regional and methodological assessments.  The scope of the proposed regional assessments was agreed with the UK part of the Europe and Central Asia region.  regional assessments are scheduled for completion in time for IPBES-6 in 2018.  Further, a working group will be established comprising members and observers from within the region as well as experts from the thematic assessments to ensure strong contributions from the regional assessments to the global and thematic assessments.  To take into account conclusions of the UN World Oceans Assessment Members agreed to postpone discussion of the option to undertake the Open Oceans assessment to the fourth session. 


Objective 3: Strengthen the science-policy interface with regard to thematic and methodological issues.

 This objective calls for the production of thematic assessments covering pollination and food production, land degradation and invasive alien species and methodological assessments on scenario analysis and modelling and on value, valuation and accounting.


IPBES-3 marked the commencement of the thematic assessment on land degradation and restoration which is timed to be completed for IPBES-6 in 2018.  This assessment will provide information on the capacity for restoration to improve land productivity, to enhance rural livelihoods and improve adaptive capacity.  It will also consider the costs of inaction.  Scoping for the thematic assessments on invasive alien species and sustainable use of biodiversity were also initiated.  These assessments will be scoped using virtual approaches which allow for collaboration between individuals and groups using the internet.  Progress on the methodological assessments was also recognised with steps being made in the development of scenarios and modelling and the valuation assessment.  The continuation of the expert group on valuation was agreed to ensure that outcomes for this assessment support other actions in the work programme.


Objective 4: Communicate and evaluate IPBES activities, deliverables and findings

 This objective requires the creation of a catalogue of relevant assessments, and a catalogues collating policy support tools and methodologies.  It also calls for the development of effective strategies focusing on communication, outreach and engagement.  A process will also be established by which guidance, products and tools provided by IPBES will be periodically assessed for effectiveness.  The communications and outreach strategy presented to Members at IPBES-3 was broadly welcomed.    The stakeholder engagement strategy was discussed in detail specifically with regards to the role of stakeholders in its delivery.  It was agreed that stakeholders would create a stakeholder network which i) represented their diversity, and, ii) worked primarily on a virtual basis. .  The strategic partnership process was also discussed and takes the form of that developed for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).  This provides a very broad remit which promotes partnerships with a wide range of organisations. As a result of the meeting the Secretariat are now seeking to develop strategic partnerships to facilitate knowledge sharing and in some cases providing payment-in-kind for work or services important to the Platform.  This process will be further reviewed at IPBES-4.  At the meeting it was requested the Executive Secretary continue to maintain and update the catalogue of assessments and , to review the assessment landscape and lessons learned to provide an evaluation for review of the Platform.  With regards to policy support tools and methods further development of this area will focus on building on and working with existing data and information initiatives.  The outcomes of this work will be reviewed at IPBES-4.



Advance Papers for the Third Session of the IPBES Plenary

Advance versions of some of the papers for the third plenary session 12-17 January in Bonn are now available on the IPBES website.  We are currently undertaking consultation with the UK IPBES Stakeholder Group in order to inform the UK position. 


The meeting will focus on the following key areas;


Report of the Executive secretary on the implementation of the work programme 2014-2018

This session will undertake a review of the work programme 2014-2018 and the challenges and lessons learned during its implementation in 2014.


Initial work programme of the platform

Within the agenda there are sessions timetabled for discussion concerning; 

(a) Task forces on capacity-building, knowledge and data (including the draft data and information management plan) and indigenous and local knowledge systems; (b) Guides on assessments, policy support tools and methodologies, and preliminary guides on scenario analysis and modelling and the conceptualization of values; and (c) Scoping documents for regional assessments, land degradation and restoration and the conceptualization of values.


Financial and Budgetary arrangements for the Platform

These discussions will focus on the following areas a) Budget and expenditure for 2014–2018, b) the Platform’s Trust fund and, (c) details of the Technical support units. 


Rules and procedures for the operation of the Platform

This session will examine the rules and processes relating to (a) the Nomination and selection of members of the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel, (b) Procedures for the preparation of Platform’s deliverables, (c) the Procedure for the review of the Platform, d) the Policy and procedures for the admission of observers, and (e) the Conflict of interest policy.


Communications and Stakeholder engagement

This session will discuss the, a) Communications and outreach strategy; b) Stakeholder engagement strategy; and c) Guidance on strategic partnerships. Revised Drafts for each of these matters have been prepared by the secretariat based on comments received at the Second Plenary (a & c) and through consultation with all involved Governments (b).      


If you are interested in joining the UK IPBES Stakeholder Engagement hub you can register you interest here.

Drafting a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy for IPBES: Findings of Stakeholder Survey Reaching out to organisations

The International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) co-organised an online survey to consult with (potential) stakeholders on various aspects of stakeholder engagement in the IPBES programme of work.  The survey was designed to collect inputs on the most effective ways to engage stakeholders in all aspects of the IPBES work programme; the type of contributions that can be expected from stakeholders; and ways to ensure that the IPBES products will be useful to stakeholders.

Survey results are available here.



Expert Workshop on Indigenous and Local Knowledge Systems to IPBES

The International Expert and Stakeholder Workshop on the Contribution of Indigenous and Local Knowledge Systems to IPBES: Building Synergies with Science, will be held from 9 - 11 June 2013, in Tokyo, Japan. Convened by the IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel, the objectives of the workshop are to examine and identify procedures and approaches for working with indigenous and local knowledge systems in the framework of IPBES and to review and assess possible conceptual frameworks for the work of IPBES that are based on, or accommodate, indigenous and local knowledge systems and worldviews. The workshop is part of the on-going intersessional process leading up to the second session of the Platform's Plenary (IPBES-2), where the outcomes of this workshop will be presented for further consideration.

Draft meeting agenda


Second session of the plenary meeting to determine modalities and institutional arrangements for the IPBES

The second session of the plenary meeting to determine modalities and institutional arrangements for the IPBES was held in Panama City.  On 21 April 2012, following six days of negotiations, representatives of consenting Governments adopted a resolution, by which the IPBES was established as an independent intergovernmental body.  Representatives decided that the present resolution, and any future decisions of the Platform, will have a legally non-binding nature.

The seat of the IPBES secretariat is to be located in Bonn, Germany.  Representatives requested that the secretariat of the United Nations Environment Programme facilitate the Platform until the secretariat is established, with a view to it being administered by one or more of the following: UNEP, UNESCO, FAO and the UNDP.  In the resolution it was decided that the first session of the Plenary of the IPBES would decide on the link between the Platform and the UN system.

Report of the second session of the plenary meeting to determine modalities and institutional arrangements for an intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services



Advance Papers for the Second Session of the IPBES Plenary

Following the intersessional process established at the first IPBES Plenary, advance versions of some of the papers for the second session in Panama in April 2012 are now available on the IPBES website.  Of particular note is the latest version of the possible elements of the work programme (UNEP/IPBES.MI/2/2) and the functions and structures of bodies that might be established under an IPBES (UNEP/IPBES.MI/2/3).

The November 2011 consultation with the UK IPBES Stakeholder Group on the work programme provided some very useful responses that UK government was able to utilise in contributing to the EU position submitted to the intersessional process; thank you to those who submitted views.  The EU position and those from other countries are available from the IPBES website intersessional-process pages.  

In preparation for the second session, we invite any additional views on the possible elements of the work programme and functions and structures of bodies. For more information please go the Consultations page: the consultation closes on 15th March 2012.  CONSULTATION CLOSED


Consultation on Work Programme and Governance Structures


It was agreed at the 1st IPBES Plenary that governments and other international parties should submit views on the possible scope of the Work Programme to the UNEP secretariat by 15 December 2011. To meet this deadline the European Commission, on behalf of Member States, has initiated a consultation process and is seeking views by mid-November 2011.  To support its own position, the UK government is now seeking views from the Stakeholder community via a consultation that will close on 4th November 2011.  For information on how to contribute go to Consultations.  CONSULTATION CLOSED



First IPBES Plenary 3-7 October 2011

The opening session of the first IPBES plenary, held in Nairobi, Kenya concluded on 7 October.  Chaired by Professor Bob Watson, the five day meeting discussed the modalities and institutional arrangements for establishment of an IPBES.  


Significant progress towards the full operationalisation of IPBES was made, with all participants supporting the creation of IPBES and building on the Busan Outcome.


While the legal process of establishing IPBES was deferred to the second session agreement was reached on the functions and principles of IPBES and the process for submitting bids for hosting the secretariat and physical location.  Submission will be considered at the second session.  Functions of the plenary body were also agreed.  Other options for a subsidiary body or scientific advisory body were discussed but options left open.


There was a preliminary exchange of views on the structures of working groups and regional hubs, and issues of the priorities for the work programme. 


The report of the meeting and its annexes (which contain draft text on the functions and operating principles of the platform; functions and structures of bodies that may be established, rules of procedure; criteria for selecting host institutions and physical location of the secretariat; and work programme) were adopted. 


Discussions on the draft texts will resume at the second session of the plenary to be held in the week 16 April 2012, the location is yet to be determined.


Adopted draft text, in-session and official documents

Summary of the first session of the plenary meeting on the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service: 3-7 October 2011 (12 pages, 360kb)

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director UN Environmental Programme opening speech 


For more details see the IPBES website


Updated:  17 June 2013