Home > IPBES-6

Stakeholder Day and 6th Session of the Plenary of the
Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-6)

17 and 18-24 March 2018 | Medellín, Colombia

Summary Highlights for the Meeting

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L-R: Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, Mayor of Medellín, Colombia; Luis Gilberto Murillo Urrutia, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Colombia; President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia; IPBES Chair Robert Watson; and IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie

IPBES Chair Robert Watson, UK, gaveled the meeting to a close at 3:00 pm


Highlights for Saturday, 24 March 2018

Plenary convened in the morning and early afternoon to complete several outstanding organizational matters, elect new members to the Bureau and the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP), approve the remaining summary for policy makers (SPM), and adopt the session’s decisions and the meeting’s report.

Highlights of the closing plenary included the following:

  • The election of 15 new members of the MEP, including: nine women and six men, with six social scientists and nine natural scientists among them.
  • The approval of the SPM of the assessment on land degradation and restoration and the acceptance of assessment chapters without further amendments.
  • The adoption of the decision on the implementation of the IPBES work programme, including decisions on initiation of work on pending assessments and follow up to the internal review.
  • The adoption of a revised budget for 2018 and a provisional budget for 2019, enabling the initiation of work on pending assessments and increasing the number of lead authors for each assessment.
  • The adoption of a decision on the development of a draft strategic framework up to 2030 and a rolling programme of work.

In their closing statements, regional representatives lauded the success of IPBES-6 having adopted five assessments and underlined their importance for policy making at the global, regional, and subregional level.

Members of the MEP and several assessment Co-Chairs recognized the outstanding contributions by volunteer experts to the development of the assessments. Stakeholder groups stressed the need to recognize the contributions of all stakeholders.

IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie urged outgoing members of the MEP to form an alumni organization to continue supporting the Platform and reported on successful media outreach and uptake of the regional assessments.

IPBES Chair Watson said the adoption of seven assessments in five years has brought IPBES’ performance up to par with the 30-year-old IPCC, noting that the next step should be for both platforms to work collaboratively.

He gaveled the meeting to a close at 3:00pm.

ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of IPBES-6 is available here.

IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, provided daily digital coverage and daily reports from IPBES-6. In addition, IISD Reporting Services has produced a summary and analysis report of IPBES-6, which is now available in HTML and PDF.

Photos by IISD/ENB | Natalia Mroz and Diego Noguera
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+ Visit the web coverage for Saturday, 24 March 2018


L-R: Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment Co-Chairs Luca Montanarella, Italy, and Bob Scholes, South Africa; IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie; and IPBES Chair Robert Watson


Delegates from Africa pose for a group photo during the plenary session

 

IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie

IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie and IPBES Chair Robert Watson celebrate the successful completion of IPBES-6


Experts celebrate the approval of the land degradation and restoration assessment


Highlights for Friday, 23 May 2018

On Friday, IPBES-6 delegates finalized their discussions on pending assessments, implementation of IPBES’ first work programme and development of the next work programme. The contact group on land degradation and restoration continued to negotiate the summary for policy makers (SPM) of the assessment throughout the day and into the night.

Highlights of the day included the following:

  • The SPMs and assessment chapters of the four regional and subregional assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services were publicly launched at a media event in the morning.
  • Delegates supported holding an informal meeting in 2018 to consider the draft SPM of the global assessment prior to its submission for approval at IPBES-7.
  • Delegates agreed that the pending assessment on diverse conceptualizations of multiple values of nature should be considered for approval “no later than” at IPBES-10.
  • On the pending assessment on sustainable use of wild species, delegates agreed to hold a workshop with IPBES’ UN Partners and appropriate multilateral agreements to provide input to the assessment.
  • On the sidelines of the meeting, the IPBES Secretariat and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) signed a memorandum of understanding.

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The dais during the Contact Group on Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment


IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie during the Signing Ceremony between IPBES and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI)


Delegates from France confer during the contact group on the budget and pending assessments


The Chinese delegation poses for a photo with Ram Pandit, IPBES Expert


Highlights for Thursday, 22 March 2018

On Thursday, IPBES-6 delegates continued their discussion of the key findings of the assessment on land degradation and restoration and discussed how to proceed with three pending assessments of the first work programme. Delegates also started working on the development of the next work programme for IPBES.

In the evening, plenary convened to finalize the regional assessments.

Highlights of the day included the following:

  • Plenary approved the summaries for policy makers (SPMs) of the four regional and subregional assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia, and accepted the chapters of the assessment reports.
  • On pending assessments, the budget group agreed to a preliminary costing, allowing to initiate work on two assessments in 2018 while increase the maximum number of lead authors from six to eight.
  • Delegates agreed to initiate work on the thematic assessment on the sustainable use of wild species and the methodological assessment on diverse conceptualizations of multiple values of nature in 2018.
  • Work on the thematic assessment on invasive alien species will be initiated in 2019.
  • The contact group on land degradation and restoration continued refining the assessment’s SPM, including regarding the drivers of biodiversity, the benefits of avoiding land degradation, and the role of production and consumption patterns.
  • Regarding future work, delegates agreed to develop a draft strategic framework up to 2030, decided to develop a rolling work programme, and began discussing the draft elements of that work programme.

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IPBES Chair Robert Watson celebrates the approval of the summaries for policy makers of the regional assessments


The dais during the Contact Group on the Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment


Mary Rowen, US

José Romero, Switzerland


Thomas Koetz, IPBES Secretariat, contact group, Review, Second Work Programme


US delegates share a light moment during contact group, Review, Second Work Programme


Highlights for Wednesday, 21 March 2018

On Wednesday, IPBES-6 delegates started to consider the summary for policy makers for the thematic assessment on land degradation and restoration and discussed the review of the Platform.

The contact group on the regional assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Americas reconvened to resolve outstanding issues. The budget group continued its deliberations.

Throughout the day, delegates discussed how to craft short, clear, and understandable messages for policy makers. When discussing the lessons learned from the Platform’s internal review, several suggested that summaries for policy makers should be much shorter and simpler to ensure uptake by decision makers.

Highlights of the day included the following:

  • Three of the regional contact groups concluded their work in the late evening or early morning hours having worked through most of the night.
  • The contact group on the Americas regional assessment concluded its work during lunch time, thus keeping the meeting on track to the public launch of four regional assessments on Friday.
  • The contact group on the assessment on land degradation and restoration considered the SPM, including clarifications on infographics in the background section.
  • Delegates discussed conclusions and lessons learned from the internal review of the Platform, including suggestions to improve the drafting process for SPMs and developing shorter SPMs with more effective messages.
  • Five countries signed up to the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators, an initiative established to develop follow-up actions based on the findings of the Thematic Assessment on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production adopted at IPBES-4.

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IPBES Chair Robert Watson celebrates his 70th birthday


The dais during the contact group


Shonisani Munzhedzi, South Africa

Mary Rowen, US


Signatory ceremony adding Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ireland
to the Coalition for the Willing on Pollinators


The Turkish delegation


Highlights for Tuesday, 20 March 2018

IPBES-6 delegates met briefly in plenary in the morning to take stock of progress and finalize several operational decisions.

The Co-Chairs of the contact groups on the regional assessments provided updates and outlined next steps towards finalizing the negotiations in the contact groups. Budget contact group Co-Chair Spencer Thomas reported that the Secretariat had provided clarity on the three budget scenarios to the group.

Delegates then resumed negotiating the summaries for policy makers (SPMs) of the regional assessments in four contact groups.

The day’s highlights included the following:

  • France offered to host the next session of the Plenary in Paris in May 2019.
  • The contact group for the Africa regional assessment discussed means of implementation as well as governance issues to ensure effective follow-up to the assessment’s findings in the region.
  • The contact group for the Americas regional assessment discussed how to best display and explain the scenarios used to outline different possible pathways to sustainability.
  • The contact group for the Asia and the Pacific regional assessment discussed whether to use the concept of nature’s contributions to people exclusively or in tandem with the concept of ecosystem services and what the implications of using both concepts would be.
  • The contact group for the Europe and Central Asia regional assessment discussed how to balance achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in the scenario archetypes.
  • An informal group met over lunchtime to discuss cross-cutting issues and harmonize the use of terms, such as biocapacity, ecological footprint, nature’s contributions to people, and ecosystem services.

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Emmanuelle Matras Swynghedauw, France, presents her country's offer to host #IPBES7 in Paris, France, in May 2019

IPBES Chair Robert Watson, United Kingdom (UK)


Assessment Coordinating Lead Authors Paula A. Harrison, UK, Jennifer Hauck, Germany

José Romero, Switzerland


Prudence Tangham Galega and Ibrahim Linjouom, Cameroon

Ahmed El Khouly, Egypt


A small drafting group during the afternoon meeting of the contact group


Highlights for Monday, 19 March 2018

On Monday, IPBES-6 delegates continued discussing the key findings of the four regional assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services in contact groups throughout the day and in the evening. While each group focused on the specific messages of its respective assessment, several cross-cutting concerns emerged during the day; most prominently the use of the concept of ‘nature’s contributions to people.’ Introduced by the scientists of the IPBES’ Multilateral Expert Panel and adopted at IPBES-5, the approach aims to better reflect the complex relationship between humans and nature, and the diversity of perspectives on those relationships.

Other cross-cutting issues included the relevance of biodiversity for different economic sectors and the need to ensure that the messages in the summaries for policy makers (SPMs) are backed by strong evidence.

Highlights of the day included the following:

  • The contact group on the Asia-Pacific assessment progressed in the first reading of the draft SPM and began tackling outstanding issues.
  • The contact group on the America’s assessment diligently discussed definitions of terms and concepts, and how to reflect them in the SPM.
  • The contact group on the Africa assessment held extended discussions on drivers of biodiversity loss.
  • The contact group on the Europe and Central Asia assessment debated on information consistency and how to ensure that messages are irrefutable and policy-relevant.
  • Throughout the day, delegates discussed, in contact groups and in the corridors, the implications of the concept of ‘nature’s contributions to people’ and how to use it alongside the concept of ecosystem services.

+ Visit the web coverage for Monday, 19 March 2018
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Trine Hay Setsaas, Norway

Anna Trakhtenbrot, Israel


The dais during the contact group


Naeem Ashraf Raja, Pakistan

Peter Bridgewater, Australia


L-R: Tim Hirsch, GBIF, and IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie


Highlights for Sunday, 18 March 2018

The sixth session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-6) opened on Sunday with opening statements and reports on progress. Members then initiated discussions on the summaries for policy makers (SPMs) of four regional assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services and the assessment on land degradation and restoration. Plenary also opened all other items on the agenda and referred substantive items to contact groups that will meet during the week.

Highlights of the day included:

  • Regional groups praised the work IPBES has done to date, with several stressing the need to launch three pending assessments to complete the Platform’s first work programme.
  • In her report on progress in implementing the IPBES work programme, Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie highlighted progress in:
    • strengthening national and regional capacities;
    • implementation of the participatory approach to integrate indigenous and local knowledge;
    • indicators for IPBES assessments; and
    • improvements in stakeholder engagement and outreach.
  • Luca Montanarella, Co-Chair of the assessment on land degradation and restoration, highlighted that the efforts made to include different world views resulted in “a first ever comprehensive assessment on this important cross-cutting topic.”
  • Several members pledged to make additional contributions to the 2018 budget and beyond, while calling for a sustainable funding strategy.

In the evening, four contact groups began discussing the SPMs of the four regional assessments.

+ Visit the web coverage for Sunday, 18 March 2018
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L-R: Thomas Koetz, IPBES Secretariat; Simone Schiele, IPBES Secretariat; IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie; IPBES Chair Robert Watson; Maria Manguiat, Legal Advisor; Sebsebe Demissew Woodmatas, Co-Chair of the IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP); Marie Stenseke, IPBES MEP Co-Chair; Meriem Bouamrane, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); and Rashad Zabid Oglu Allahverdiyev, IPBES-6 Rapporteur


IPBES Chair Robert Watson

Simone Schiele, IPBES Secretariat


IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie

Sandra Myrna Díaz, Co-Chair of the Global Assessment


Senka Barudanovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nikolay Tzvetkov, Bulgaria


Highlights of the Opening Ceremony

Carlos Tapia, Humboldt Institute, facilitated the opening ceremony of the sixth Plenary Session of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-6).

Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, Mayor of Medellín, Colombia, highlighted the city’s commitment to a green development pathway including through payment for ecosystem services involving the municipal government and communities living around watersheds.

IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie underlined the ambitious nature of IPBES-6 with the expected approval of five assessments. She drew attention to the vital contributions of these assessments to key policy mechanisms, including the fifth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook and the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Via video message UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim, stressed the need for political will to address biodiversity loss, called for private sector engagement to ensure restoration of degraded lands and sustainable livelihoods, and emphasized the importance of communicating science in an exciting and innovative way. He underlined that “we cannot bore people into action.”

IPBES Chair Robert Watson (UK) emphasized that historical degradation and destruction of the environment have undermined the well-being of current and future generations. He noted the importance of IPBES-6 in ensuring public recognition of the dangers of biodiversity loss, adding that failure to address this loss will compromise the ability to meet many SDGs.

In a keynote address, President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia, highlighted several ongoing efforts to restore and preserve biodiversity throughout Colombia, a mega-biodiverse nation, including inter alia: increasing the number of terrestrial protected areas (PAs) by 14% and marine PAs (MPAs) by 13%; and regional efforts to protect marine corridors of the Andes, the Amazon and the Atlantic.


UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim addresses participants via a video message


The local media at the opening ceremony

IPBES Chair Robert Watson


Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, Mayor of Medellín, Colombia

IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie


President Santos receives gifts from delegates at the end of the ceremony


Highlights of the Stakeholder Day

The Stakeholder Day preceding the sixth session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-6) was held on Saturday, 17 March 2018 in Medellín, Colombia, followed by the IPBES-6 Opening Ceremony. Stakeholder Day provided an opportunity for organizations interested in the IPBES process to discuss their engagement in the Plenary session. IPBES-6 is expected to finalize and launch five science-policy assessment reports and summaries for policymakers (SPMs): a thematic assessment on land degradation and restoration; and regional assessments on biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and Europe and Central Asia.

Stakeholder Day discussions focused on:

  • Enhancing the impact of IPBES assessments, including through capacity building for uptake and a new online tool to track assessment impact;
  • The role of the participatory mechanism in incorporating indigenous and local knowledge in assessments, and the need to address barriers to full participation of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs);
  • Challenges in ensuring the policy relevance of assessments, and interpreting and communicating their findings; and
  • Next steps in implementing the IPBES Capacity-building Rolling Plan and how to prioritize requests for capacity building.

Participants of the Stakeholder Day at the end of Saturday’s proceedings


Günter Mitlacher, WWF

Tui Shortland, Te Kopu Pacific Indigenous and Local Knowledge Centre of Distinction, New Zealand


L-R: Moderator Arturo Mora, IUCN Colombia; Felice van der Plaat, IPBES Secretariat; Luca Montanarella, Co-Chair of the thematic assessment on land degradation and restoration; Jake Rice, Co-chair of the regional assessment for the Americas; Emma Archer, Co-chair of the regional assessment for Africa; Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu, Co-chair of the regional assessment for Asia Pacific; and Mark Rounsevell, Co-chair of the regional assessment for Europe and Central Asia


Jake Rice, Co-chair of the regional assessment for the Americas

Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu, Co-chair of the regional assessment for Asia Pacific


Specific funding for coverage of IPBES-6 has been provided by the European Union (EU) and the IPBES Secretariat
EU IPBES

IISD Reporting Services is grateful to the many donors of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) and recognizes the following as core contributors to the ENB: the European Union and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. General Support for the Bulletin during 2018 is provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Switzerland (Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)), and SWAN International. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, Québec, and the Institute of La Francophonie for Sustainable Development (IFDD), a subsidiary body of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF).