Korea: Green light for biodiversity version of IPCC?


The path has been cleared for the creation of a biodiversity and ecosystem services equivalent of the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform (IPCC) after an international meeting in Korea.

The reaction to this news may be mixed considering the recent problems faced by IPCC, but proponents of the scheme mark it as a significant moment in the battle to halt global biodiversity decline.

The International Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was backed by more than 230 delegates from 85 countries at the meeting in Busan, South Korea which took place from June 7 - 11. Although the details are sketchy it seems IPBES function will mirror that of IPCC, which has been at the forefront of disseminating climate change research around the globe.

The decline of global biodiversity is well documented, as are the numerous organisations and protocols entrusted with the job of stopping it. From Rio's Earth Summit in 1992, and the inception of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2000, to organisations such as the UN, IUCN and powerful NGOs such as Conservation International and WWF the number of people working to halt biodiversity decline must run into the millions. But so far very little inroads have been made. So perhaps the most interesting aspect of all this will be discovering how IPBES fits into this already crowded space.

epipythes growing in rainforest canopy

Biodiversity around the globe is still declining despite years of concerted effort.

Can IPBES turn the tide?

It would be tragic if IPBES just becomes another talking shop that very accurately tracks the demise of the world's wildlife without ever having the power to prevent it. But we must think positive and as Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said: "The dream of many scientists in both developed and developing countries has been made a reality."

IPBES plans may be formalised at the 65th session of the UN General Assembly in September and launched in 2011.

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