Robert Spaull, IPBES Secretariat; IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie; Outgoing IPBES Chair Robert Watson, UK; Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General; and Global Assessment Co-Chairs Josef Settele, Germany, Sandra Díaz, Argentina, and Eduardo S. Brondízio, Brazil/US
On Monday afternoon, the media community gathered at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, for the official launch of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. In her opening remarks, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, welcomed the report, noting it provides a strong foundation for evidence-based action to address biodiversity loss.
Highlighting that several hundred experts spent over three years reviewing scientific literature and taking into account indigenous knowledge for the preparation of the report, IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie highlighted that the Global Assessment is a “considerable gift from the scientific community.” She also noted that, especially through the negotiation of the summary for policy makers, the report is now “owned” by governments. Larigauderie underscored that while its conclusions are very alarming, the report also provides a message of hope: “if given a chance, nature will prevail, and everybody can contribute to halting biodiversity loss.”
Outgoing IPBES Chair Robert Watson noted that the report shows that halting and reversing biodiversity loss is not just an environmental, but also an economic, development, security, social, and ethical issue. He underscored the need to: foster sustainable agricultural practices; eliminate environmentally harmful subsidies; and fully engage indigenous peoples and local communities in the decision making process.
The Co-Chairs of the Global Assessment, Josef Settele, Sandra Díaz, and Eduardo S. Brondízio, summarized the key findings of the report, including:
More species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction than at any other time in human history;
The deterioration of nature has important negative consequences for human well-being;
To address the root causes of biodiversity loss, we need to steer our financial and economic systems away from the currently limited paradigm of economic growth and better account for natural and social capital; and
Bold action is urgently needed from the global to the local level.
In the ensuing question and answer (Q&A) session, the contributing experts to the Global Assessment responded to questions from media organizations such as Agence France Presse, Deutsche Presse Agentur, Associated Press, El País, Die Zeit, and France Inter. The Q&A inter alia addressed:
Education for sustainable development;
Knowledge gaps related to insect populations;
Economic paradigm shifts;
Regional variations in biodiversity trends;
Some actors, such as those benefiting from fossil fuel subsidies, having a vested interest in preserving the status quo; and
Actions that individual citizens can take to halt biodiversity loss.
The experts said that “we are only beginning to understand interlinkages between tipping points,” such as the loss of coral reefs and changes in Arctic and polar ecosystems, and underscored the important message that “biodiversity is declining everywhere.”
With one media outlet asking “why should people living in cities care about this report?,” the experts emphasized that everyone, including in large metropoles, relies on nature’s contribution to people, inter alia pointing to the role of urban green spaces with regards to air pollution, storm water regulation, and mental health.
The event closed with Robert Spaull, IPBES Secretariat, saying “this is not the end of the Global Assessment process, now we all have to make sure the report’s findings are taken up by decision makers and all other stakeholders.”
Summary and Analysis: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)summary and analysis of IPBES-7 is available in HTML and PDF.
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB Meeting Coverage, provided daily web coverage and daily reports from IPBES-7.
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