UNEP Hosts Intergovernmental Negotiations On Strengthening Science for Policy on Biodiversity & Ecosystems
Nairobi, 5 October 2009 - Ecosystem health and sustainability are central to the well being of human kind. Over the past 50 years, the world has suffered an estimated 60 % decline in ecosystems services and unprecedented biodiversity loss - caused by unsustainable human activities. Biodiversity loss makes ecosystems more vulnerable to shocks and disturbances, less resilient, and less able to supply humans with critical ecosystem services.
There is growing global consensus that strengthening the interrelations between science and policy at all levels is necessary to face the magnitude and complexity of the challenge.
Over 300 delegates from about 100 countries will gather from 5 to 9 October 2009 to participate in the 2nd Ad-hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-Stakeholder Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Over the course of five days, delegates will discuss the development of a mechanism to provide periodic, timely and policy-relevant scientific information covering the full range of biodiversity and ecosystem service issues to governments and the broader development community in support of policy development and decision-making.
On Monday, Ibrahim Thiaw, Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Division of Environmental Policy Implementation, welcomed participants on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
Angela Cropper, UNEP Deputy Executive Director, warned that the international community would likely fail to reach the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)'s target of reducing biodiversity loss by 2010. She stressed the need to strengthen dialogue between the scientific and policy communities through a new mechanism that furthers scientific independence, improves collaboration, offers regular assessments and supports capacity building, especially in developing countries.
Jochen Flasbarth, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Conference of the Parties (COP) President, added that the establishment of a new mechanism is crucial for biodiversity policy in the coming decade. He said that establishing the IPBES should not be seen as competition to existing scientific bodies dealing with biodiversity, such as the CBD's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), but as additional value and scientific evidence for decision-makers. Flasbarth suggested that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) could serve as a blueprint for an IPBES.
Highlighting his country's rich biodiversity and ecosystems, John Michuki, Minister of Environment, Kenya, welcomed the establishment of an international body, but said that any mechanism should avoid duplication of efforts with other UN mechanisms and include the private sector.
Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary, unveiled the logo for the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, which will be the focus of a high-level segment of the UN General Assembly in September 2010. The goal of the year, he said, is to mobilize all stakeholders to protect life on earth.