Participants to the eighth session of the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-8) continued their work Wednesday in a virtual working group setting. Deliberations focused on the scoping report on assessing the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and the determinants of transformative change (transformative change assessment).
Highlights of the day included:
- A lengthy discussion on the need to take into account all differing worldviews and forms of knowledge in the assessment; this discussion surfaced on various occasions and an effort to resolve it by introducing a new umbrella paragraph under the methodological approach is ongoing;
- The realization, underscored by many Members’ interventions during their general remarks, that transformative change requires work across sectors, building synergies and partnerships to address the drivers of biodiversity loss; and
- An exchange of views on the building blocks of transformational change, with some Members stressing related challenges, including lack of relevant quantitative objectives.
Working group Co-Chair Doug Beard (US), presented the scoping report; Marcus Fischer, IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP) Member, gave an overview of changes to the latest draft; and IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie offered an overview of the practical measures to ensure complementarity between the transformative change and nexus assessments.
In their general comments, many Members congratulated the experts and the Secretariat on the work done. They stressed the need to build synergies and partnerships, including work across all relevant sectors. Many delegates urged promoting the engagement of all stakeholders, including women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs). Some Members stressed the need to consider national and regional differences, emphasizing there is no one-size-fits-all approach to transformative change. General comments also focused on the degree of flexibility that will need to be built in to the scoping report to allow experts to successfully include all relevant aspects in the assessment.
Members also stressed:
- the importance of this report for strengthening the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework under the CBD and achieving the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity;
- the need for a clear explanation of what transformative change entails, including tangible examples on how it can be achieved;
- the need to take into account marine as well as terrestrial ecosystems, and looking at both ecological and geo-political regions; and
- the role of equity and justice in transformative change.
A considerable part of the 4-hour session was devoted to discussing and scrutinizing the outline of the assessment’s chapters. Delegates disagreed on whether to reference specific international agreements, with some suggesting more general language referring to “relevant global objectives.” Lengthy discussions took place on whether to refer to assessing “existing,” “possible,” “desirable,” or “relevant” scenarios and transitional pathways. IPBES experts intervened throughout the discussion, clarifying concepts and assisting delegates in reaching common ground. The working group was able to address the content of all the draft chapters; disagreements still remain in some parts of the document.
Members also initiated discussions on methodology and scope. A short discussion even took place on the title of the document, with some Members expressing concerns over the introduction of fundamental changes in such a late stage in the process. Discussions on the scoping report on the transformative change assessment will continue tomorrow.
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