K307 Elsi

IPBES- the international perspective: Connecting global assessment processes with European and national level – lessons from the perspective of a global science-policy interface


Isabel Sousa Pinto
Zoi Konstantinou


IPBES - the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is an independent body, established in 2012 to provide policymakers and society with objective assessments regarding biodiversity, ecosystems and the benefits they provide to people, as well as the methods to protect and sustainably use these natural assets. IPBES aims to support the development of efficient policy by making available state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed, relevant scientific knowledge at an international level. Assessments performed by IPBES are a result of requests from governments and society, a scoping exercise and the work from relevant experts from all fields of science, as well as indigenous and local knowledge. Analysing this process will not only improve the work done by IPBES, but also inform the efforts that are taking place at EU and national level, aiming at similar results from different perspectives. The key aspect of IPBES functioning is the (inter)governmental commitment of its member states. This structure provides high legitimacy and a semi-direct link of the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel to IPBES Plenary, thus the governmental representatives, which can influence policies in international, regional and local level. At the same time it is also responsible for the lack of flexibility of the process, result of necessary diplomatic and political considerations, which although necessary, can lead to delays or communication dead-ends regarding the need for political action. Another aspect of discussion should be the assessment level contacted through IPBES. Knowledge regarding biodiversity and ecosystem services globally is vast, even if incomplete, and often fragmented, so the assessment of this information in an integrated manner is crucial to extract conclusions at a regional and global levels (e.g. the European and Central Asia region), thus identifying global trends and pursuing international agreements in support of conservation. When developing an assessment of that scale, it is inevitable that the information will vary in quality and quantity. In the present ECA Assessment several challenges were identified in the connection between existing assessments at national, EU level, at pan European level and at ECA scale, from uneven data and knowledge existent across the region, to accessibility of existing data, to existence of previous assessments. These challenges point to the need of a gap analysis of existing knowledge but also monitoring, assessments and mechanisms/policies to share and access data. Finally, aspects of the IPBES approach related to transdisciplinarity, nomination of experts, the engagement between scientists in intergovernmental panels, as well as the strategy and methodology through which knowledge is assessed and transformed to better be used to support policy, are crucial to inform similar approaches at EU and local level.