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In a significant change of gears, a virtual working group for the eighth session of the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-8) made considerable progress in its deliberations. In a busy four-hour session, the working group:

  • finalized considerations on the scoping report for the transformative change assessment, which will be forwarded to plenary for approval next week;
  • continued negotiations on the scoping report for the nexus assessment, without reaching agreement in all parts of the document, but making significant progress; and
  • initiated discussions on the agenda item on capacity building, including interim workplans for IPBES taskforces for the intersessional period 2021–2022.

Highlights of the day included:

  • An acceleration in the negotiations of the working group on the scoping reports for the transformative change and the nexus assessment; this led to agreement on the former; and
  • Reaching agreement regarding the controversial issue of a chapter of the nexus assessment on energy and climate change via a compromise solution tabled by the Co-Chair, which was able to bridge divergent views.

Working Group on Transformative Change

IPBES expert Markus Fischer presented changes proposed by the experts, taking the previous day’s deliberations into account. He suggested inserting a paragraph in the section on scope, stating the assessment needs to be conducted considering the IPBES Conceptual Framework, as well as the different world views and different knowledge systems, including Indigenous and local knowledge (ILK).

Members agreed to add two questions of relevance to decision-makers and other stakeholders dealing with transformative change on:

  • social and economic inequalities among and within countries, and the way they affect achieving transformative change; and
  • the relationship between transformative change and transitional changes and what is needed to make sure that transformative change ensures just transitions.

Delegates further agreed on compromise language referring to “the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030, and other relevant biodiversity-related goals found within other multilateral agreements and processes.” Members addressed the draft chapters’ content, agreeing to include references to transdisciplinary perspectives, and international law and internationally agreed principles.

Co-Chair Beard thanked Members for their spirit of compromise and said the draft scoping report will be forwarded to plenary for final approval next week.

Working Group on the Nexus Assessment

Co-Chair Beard proposed compromise text for the chapter referencing climate and energy. The text suggested the paragraph address climate adaptation and mitigation, including relevant aspects of the energy system, which includes energy production, distribution, and consumption. One delegate suggested inclusions of “considerations” so that biodiversity considerations would be mainstreamed into energy systems. Another delegate suggested specifying the scope of the chapter to “biodiversity-related” in alignment with the IPBES mandate. A Member queried whether the text excludes consideration of fossil fuels when addressing climate adaptation and mitigation, which an IPBES expert clarified it did not. Members agreed to make reference to “terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems” and to link this up with the response options to be explored in the chapter.

Members also addressed the draft chapters’ content agreeing to: include in the assessment qualitative scenarios and diverse views of future projections of good quality of life; refer to environmental rather than ecological costs; and use the term “transition” regarding moving toward a range of sustainable futures.

Discussions in the working group will continue Monday.

Working Group on Building Capacity and Supporting Policy

Working group Co-Chair Sebsebe Demissew (Ethiopia) introduced the relevant document. Luthando Dziba, Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP) Co-Chair, provided an overview of the intersessional workplan for the period 2021-2022 for the Task Force on Capacity Building. Deliberations will resume Monday.

IPBES-8 will continue its work Friday with two sessions of the contact group on budget behind closed doors. The working group discussions and this coverage will continue Monday, 21 June.

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