Summary report, 28 August – 2 September 2023
10th Session of the IPBES Plenary and Stakeholder Day
Biodiversity is in rapid decline all around the world. With many species of plants and animals at risk of extinction, it is more urgent than ever to tackle the drivers of biodiversity loss and engage in transformative change. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) plays a key role in this regard, especially through the publication of assessment reports that inform decision making at various governance levels.
The tenth session of the IPBES Plenary (IPBES 10) continued this trend by launching a new report on invasive alien species (IAS) and their control. Key messages of the report include:
- People and nature are seriously threatened by IAS in all regions of the world, including local and global species extinctions, and threats to the economy, food and water security, human health, and good quality of life in general, augmenting global inequities.
- IAS-related threats are increasing markedly in all regions of the world.
- Management of biological invasions can reduce the number and impact of IAS, including initiatives on prevention and preparedness, eradication, containment and control, and adaptive management.
- Integrated governance can limit the global problem of IAS and achieve progress through: closer collaboration and coordination across sectors and countries; open and interoperable information systems to improve coordination and effectiveness; and increasing public awareness, engagement, and capacity building.
- The Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) offers a great opportunity to update national frameworks to prevent and control IAS, which will contribute to achieving many GBF goals and several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Delegates elected David Obura (Kenya) as the next IPBES Chair and accepted Namibia’s offer to host IPBES 11 in December 2024. They further adopted the terms of reference for the midterm review of the 2030 rolling work programme and of the task forces on capacity building, knowledge and data, Indigenous and local knowledge, and scenarios and models of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
With regard to the additional assessments to be prepared up to 2030, IPBES 10:
- approved the scoping process for a second global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services;
- approved the undertaking of a fast-track methodological assessment on monitoring biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people;
- approved the undertaking of a fast-track methodological assessment of biodiversity-inclusive spatial planning and ecological connectivity; and
- decided to determine the exact topic for a further assessment at IPBES 12, following a further call for suggestions.
IPBES 10 convened from 28 August – 2 September 2023, in Bonn, Germany. On 27 August, the Stakeholder Day brought together scientists, members of Indigenous and local communities, and representatives of civil society organizations to exchange views on the issues on the IPBES 10 agenda. While many evening sessions were needed for delegates to complete their mandate, negotiations proceeded in good spirit, and delegates reached agreement on all items. In total, 1074 delegates registered for the meeting, which also featured opportunities for virtual participation.
A Brief History of IPBES
IPBES is an independent, intergovernmental body established in 2012 to provide evidence-based and policy-relevant information to decision makers regarding the planet’s biodiversity, ecosystems, and the benefits they provide to people. The Platform’s work is divided into four functions:
- developing assessments on specific themes or methodological issues at global and regional scales;
- providing policy support through the development of tools and methodologies, and facilitating their use;
- building the capacity and knowledge of members; and
- ensuring impact through an effective communication and outreach strategy.
The Platform’s main governing body is the IPBES Plenary composed of Member State representatives. Non-Member States, UN organizations, non-governmental organizations, and other organizations and stakeholders can attend as observers. The work of the Plenary is supported by the Bureau overseeing the Platform’s administrative functions, and the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP) overseeing the Platform’s scientific and technical functions. To date, the Platform has 143 Member States.
Stakeholder Days have been organized prior to every session of the IPBES Plenary to provide a forum for stakeholder engagement. These events bring together stakeholders from scientific organizations, Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs), and civil society to receive updates about the work and intersessional activities of IPBES, exchange views regarding the issues on the agenda, and coordinate stakeholder statements and positions on specific issues.
Key Turning Points
IPBES was established as a result of a consultative process initiated in response to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), the first state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the conditions and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide, which was conducted from 2001 to 2005. In January 2005, the Paris Conference on Biodiversity, Science, and Governance proposed to initiate consultations to assess the need, scope, and possible form of an international mechanism of scientific expertise on biodiversity as part of the follow-up process to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.
IMoSEB Process: Supported by the Government of France, the consultative process on an International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB) was conducted through an International Steering Committee and a series of regional consultations from 2005 to 2007. At its final meeting in November 2007, the Steering Committee invited donors and governments to provide support for the further consideration of the establishment of a science-policy interface. It also invited the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and others to convene a meeting to consider establishing such an interface.
Following this invitation, stakeholders also agreed that the follow-up to the IMoSEB process and the MA follow-up process initiated under UNEP in 2007 should merge. A joint meeting took place in March 2008 to develop a common approach. During the same year, the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) welcomed the decision of the UNEP Executive Director to convene an Ad Hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-Stakeholder Meeting on an IPBES and requested the CBD Ad Hoc Working Group on Review of Implementation to consider the meeting’s outcomes.
Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Multi-Stakeholder Process: From 2008 to 2010, the establishment of a science-policy interface was further discussed in a series of Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Multi-Stakeholder Meetings. The first meeting (November 2008, Putrajaya, Malaysia) recommended UNEP undertake a preliminary gap analysis on existing interfaces. Based on this analysis, the second meeting (October 2009, Nairobi, Kenya) developed options to strengthen the science-policy interface, and functions and possible governance structures of an IPBES. At the third meeting (June 2010, Busan, Republic of Korea), delegates adopted the Busan Outcome, which recommended inviting the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to take appropriate action for establishing an IPBES. The 65th session of the UNGA (December 2010) requested UNEP to fully operationalize the platform and convene a plenary meeting to determine the modalities and institutional arrangements of the platform at the earliest opportunity. The 26th session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (February 2011, Nairobi, Kenya) also called for convening a plenary session for an IPBES.
Plenary for an IPBES: The modalities and institutional arrangements of IPBES were negotiated at two sessions of an intergovernmental “Plenary for an IPBES,” established as an interim body. At the first session (October 2011, Nairobi, Kenya), delegates considered the platform’s functions and operating principles, work programme, and legal issues relating to its establishment and operationalization. At the second session (April 2012, Panama City, Panama), delegates considered the functions and structures of bodies that might be established under the platform, rules of procedure, and the platform’s work programme. Delegates selected Bonn, Germany, as the physical location of the IPBES Secretariat and adopted a resolution formally establishing IPBES.
Antalya Consensus: The first two sessions of the IPBES Plenary (January 2013, Bonn, Germany, and December 2013, Antalya, Turkey) focused on developing the Platform’s structure and processes. IPBES 2 adopted the Antalya Consensus, which included decisions on the development of a work programme for 2014-2018. Delegates also adopted a conceptual framework considering different knowledge systems, and rules and procedures for the Platform on, inter alia, the preparation of the Platform’s assessments and other deliverables.
First Work Programme: The first IPBES work programme (2014-2018) was adopted at the Platform’s third Plenary session (January 2015, Bonn, Germany) together with the stakeholder engagement strategy, a communication and outreach strategy, and the Platform’s rules of procedure. With these decisions, IPBES became fully operational and able to initiate its first assessments.
The following assessments were produced during the first work programme:
- Thematic Assessment on Pollinators, Pollination, and Food Production (IPBES 4, February 2016, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia);
- Methodological Assessment on Scenarios and Models of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES 4);
- Regional Assessments of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the Americas, and Europe and Central Asia (IPBES-6, March 2018, Medellín, Colombia);
- Thematic Assessment on Land Degradation and Restoration (IPBES 6); and
- Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES 7, May 2019, Paris, France).
Other outputs produced by the Platform during the first work programme included:
- the IPBES Capacity-building Rolling Plan;
- a Guide to the Production of Assessments;
- a Catalogue of Policy Support Tools and Methodologies, Experts, and Partners; and
- a Communication and Outreach Strategy.
Rolling Work Programme up to 2030: The IPBES’ Rolling Work Programme up to 2030 was adopted at the Platform’s seventh Plenary session (May 2019, Paris, France). It includes new assessments on: the nexus between biodiversity and water, food, and health; the determinants of transformative change; the impact and dependence of business on biodiversity; and a technical report on biodiversity and climate change intended to be prepared jointly with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
IPBES 6: At its sixth session (17-24 March 2018, Medellín, Colombia), IPBES approved the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) and accepted the chapters of four Regional Assessments and the thematic Assessment on Land Degradation and Restoration. The meeting also adopted: a decision on the implementation of the first work programme, including the initiation of work on two new assessments in 2018 on the sustainable use of wild species, and on tools and methodologies regarding multiple values of biodiversity to human societies; the initiation of an assessment on invasive alien species in 2019; and a decision on the development of a strategic framework up to 2030 and elements of a rolling work programme.
IPBES 7: At its seventh session (29 April-4 May 2019, Paris, France), IPBES approved the SPM and accepted the chapters of the Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the first intergovernmental global assessment of this kind and the first comprehensive assessment since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment released in 2005. IPBES-7 further adopted the IPBES rolling work programme up to 2030.
IPBES 8: At its eighth session (14-24 June 2021, online), IPBES approved the scoping reports for thematic assessments of: the interlinkages among biodiversity, water, food and health (nexus assessment); and the underlying causes of biodiversity loss, determinants of transformative change, and options for achieving the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity (transformative change assessment). IPBES-8 further approved the interim work plans of the five IPBES task forces for the intersessional period 2021-2022.
IPBES 9: At its ninth session (3-9 July 2022, Bonn, Germany), IPBES approved the SPM and accepted the chapters of the thematic assessment of the sustainable use of wild species (sustainable use assessment), and the methodological assessment of the diverse conceptualization of multiple values of nature and its benefits, including biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services (values assessment). It also approved the scoping report for a methodological assessment of the impact and dependence of business on biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people (business and biodiversity assessment), and the work programme deliverables and work plans of the five IPBES task forces for the intersessional period 2022-2023.
IPBES 10 Report
The tenth session of the IPBES Plenary opened on Monday, 28 August 2023. It was preceded by the IPBES Stakeholder Day on 27 August, which provided an opportunity for non-governmental stakeholders to present their activities to support IPBES and discuss their engagement in the Platform.
Deliberations were mainly conducted by two Working Groups. Working Group 1 (WG 1) was co-chaired by Sebsebe Demissew Woodmatas (African Group) and Douglas Beard (Western European and Others Group, WEOG). WG 2 was co-chaired by Floyd Homer (Latin American and Caribbean Group, GRULAC), Julia Marton-Lefèvre (WEOG), and Bishwa Nath Oli (Asia-Pacific Group).
On Monday, 28 August, IPBES Chair Ana María Hernández Salgar opened the session, delineating the following priorities for IPBES 10: approving the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the Invasive Alien Species (IAS) report, deciding on the topics of the assessments to be added to the rolling work programme up to 2030, and revising the structure and terms of reference of the IPBES task forces.
Anne Larigauderie, IPBES Executive Secretary, highlighted the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), drawing attention to new requests for IPBES assessments to support the GBF’s implementation. She underscored that IPBES received the 2022 Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity, together with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Spain, for the EU, stressed the importance of IPBES in supporting the GBF by making the best-available data and traditional knowledge accessible to decision makers and the public. Noting the interdependence of biodiversity and climate, she called for strengthening cooperation between IPBES and the IPCC.
Mexico, for GRULAC, highlighted the importance of the thematic assessment of IAS in raising awareness and enhancing cooperation. She acknowledged the challenge in achieving consensus on the next assessments to be carried out by IPBES, expressing hope that this reflects members’ growing interest and needs.
The Republic of Korea, for the ASIA-PACIFIC GROUP, noted that IPBES 10 is the first Plenary meeting after the adoption of the GBF, highlighting the growing importance and impact of scientific knowledge. She underscored the critical support provided by task forces.
The US, for several members of JUSSCANNZ (US, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, ICELAND, ISRAEL, JAPAN, MONACO, NORWAY, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, SWITZERLAND, the UK, and NEW ZEALAND), noted nature is the foundation of human security and prosperity. Highlighting IPBES’ critical role in providing policy relevant information, she underscored that the IAS report will help identify tools to tackle this important driver of biodiversity loss.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, for some non-EU members of the EASTERN EUROPEAN GROUP, thanked authors for their contribution to the IAS report, noting IAS were identified as a key direct driver of biodiversity loss and are covered by a dedicated target under the GBF. He emphasized the continuous need for capacity building in his region.
Burundi, for the AFRICAN GROUP, called for joint efforts to address gaps and needs of developing countries with regard to the control and management of IAS. These efforts, he said, should include capacity building, research, access to technology, effective border control, and international cooperation to reduce the spread and establishment of IAS. He emphasized the upcoming national focal point meeting should address the low representation of African experts and data from the region in IPBES assessments.
The CBD SECRETARIAT emphasized that IPBES’ work has been at the foundation of the GBF’s development and drew attention to: the importance of the IAS assessment; requests by the CBD Conference of the Parties (COP) for future work, including a second global assessment on biodiversity; and the need for a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach.
The OPEN-ENDED NETWORK OF IPBES STAKEHOLDERS urged recognizing the critical role of stakeholders in managing IAS and the need to go beyond the economic growth paradigm towards a biodiversity-friendly pathway that promotes overall prosperity. She highlighted the need for effective dissemination of IPBES products and key messages, noting that “knowledge transfer is the bedrock of sustainable progress,” and stressing the need for effective capacity building.
The INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS FORUM ON BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES (IIFBES) highlighted the required fundamental changes to the relationship between humans and nature, urging placing human rights, including Indigenous rights, at the center of implementation, monitoring, and reporting of national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs). She called for concrete, collaborative efforts, including addressing the interlinkages between biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution, and a holistic approach to addressing IAS.
Organizational Matters and Reports
Agenda and organization of work: On Monday, 28 August, Chair Hernández introduced the provisional agenda (IPBES/10/1 and IPBES/10/1/Add.1), which delegates adopted. She suggested, and delegates agreed, to convene: a Contact Group on financial and budgetary arrangements; WG 1 on the IAS assessment; and WG 2 on all remaining agenda items.
Status of membership: Chair Hernández welcomed the four new IPBES members, Guinea, Namibia, Palau, and Oman, bringing the total to 143.
Election of officers: During the closing plenary, delegates elected David Obura (Kenya) as the new IPBES Chair. Delegates also elected four new Co-Chairs: Hamid Čustović (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Floyd Homer (Trinidad and Tobago), Bishwa Nath Oli (Nepal) and Douglas Beard (US).
The other newly-elected members of the bureau are: Erik Grigoryan (Armenia), Bernal Herrer-Fernández (Costa Rica), Yongyut Trisurat (Thailand), Eeva Primmer (Finland) and Sebsebe Demissew Woodmatas (Ethiopia). The alternates elected are: Eliška Rolfová (Czechia), Günay Erpul (Türkiye), Sevvandi Jayakody (Sri Lanka), Chirra Achalender Reddy (India), Sebastian König (Switzerland), Janina Heim (Germany), Asia Mohamed (Sudan), and Mohlago Flora Mokgohloa (South Africa).
Credentials: Stadler Trengove, IPBES Secretariat, reported on credentials on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. The Plenary accepted the reports.
Reports on progress in the implementation of the rolling work programme up to 2030: Executive Secretary Larigauderie reported on progress in implementing the rolling work programme up to 2030 (IPBES/10/4 and IPBES/10/INF/4, 5, 6, 8-15, and 17). She provided an updated timeline on the upcoming assessments and an overview of the work on IPBES objectives: strengthening knowledge, supporting policy, and improving communication and engagement of the Platform.
Robert Spaull, IPBES Head of Communications, reported on communication and engagement, focusing on traditional and social media interactions, impact tracking, and strengthening engagement with stakeholders.
David Obura, Co-Chair of the nexus assessment, pointed to bi-monthly coordination between the Co-Chairs of the nexus assessment and the transformative change assessment. He noted the second external review, which also includes the assessment’s SPM, will open in November 2023.
Karen O’Brien, Co-Chair of the transformative change assessment, said the second external review of the transformative change assessment will open in December 2023, and the third and final Indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) dialogue of the process will take place in the same month.
Matt Jones, Co-Chair of the business and biodiversity assessment, highlighted that the first author meeting for the report will take place in September 2023 and indicated that draft chapters should be ready for the first external review in June 2024.
Chair Hernández presented the progress report on the UN collaborative partnership arrangement for supporting the work of the Platform and its Secretariat (IPBES/10/INF/19).
Financial and Budgetary Arrangements for the Platform
On Monday, 28 August, Executive Secretary Larigauderie presented the relevant documents (IPBES/10/5, IPBES/10/1/Add.2, and IPBES/10/INF/18). She focused on: in-kind support and cash contributions for the Trust Fund for 2022 and 2023; final expenditure for 2022; budgetary implications following the indicative timeline up to 2030 for ongoing and future IPBES assessments; proposed amendments to the budgets for 2023 and 2024; the fundraising strategy; and the overall financial situation, including a revised budget for 2023, a budget for 2024, and a provisional budget for 2025.
Discussions continued in a Contact Group co-chaired by Hamid Čustović (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Spencer Thomas (Grenada).
Final Outcome: In its decision (IPBES-10/3), the Plenary welcomes the fundraising efforts undertaken by the Secretariat and requests it to:
- increase efforts to encourage members to broaden the donor base;
- revisit the fundraising strategy for consideration at IPBES 11;
- report on expenditures for 2023 at IPBES 11; and
- develop and review options for providing funding for the participation of IPLCs and youth, to be considered at IPBES 11.
The Plenary urges: governments and invites UN bodies, the Global Environment Facility, and others to support the work of the Platform; and those in a position to do so to provide funding for IPLCs and youth representatives.
The Plenary further adopts:
- the revised budget for 2023, amounting to USD 9,071,593;
- the budget for 2024, amounting to USD 10,455,858; and
- the provisional budget for 2025, amounting to USD 10,202,992.
Annexes to the decision include: status of cash and in-kind contributions to IPBES; final expenditures for 2022; revised budget for 2023; budget for 2024; and provisional budget for 2025.
Thematic Assessment of Invasive Alien Species
This item was addressed by WG 1 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Negotiations on the SPM of the IAS Assessment were difficult, in particular during the initial stages, as members struggled to reach agreement on definitions, including for the term “biological invasion.” They further discussed at length whether to refer to either biological invasions or IAS in different parts of the SPM, as well as the distinction between alien species and IAS.
WG 1 Co-Chair Beard’s suggestion to first address background messages and then move to key messages proved effective. Following lengthy, sentence-by-sentence deliberations on the background material, delegates reached agreement on the key messages without too much controversy, as they reverted to agreed language from the background text when disagreements arose.
Negotiations were extensive, in particular on: the description of the challenges IAS pose (section A), including discussions on the lack of data from certain regions; and management options for the prevention and mitigation of negative impacts of IAS (section C), with members eager to reflect their national priorities and interests. Night sessions were required for the timely finalization of the SPM. Informal discussions under Friends of the Chair groups were also needed to reach consensus, including on the definitions, and on the content and format of tables and figures included in the SPM.
During the closing plenary on Saturday, 2 September, Chair Hernández thanked WG 1 for its hard work. She expressed regret that the document could not be translated in time, given that deliberations on the SPM finished late the previous evening. She invited the Plenary to accept the document, which embodies the SPM on the thematic assessment of IAS, on the caveat that it will undergo the necessary editorial changes and factual corrections to ensure consistency with the deliberations and the chapters.
BRAZIL asked for editorial changes to table SPM.2 (options for strengthening the governance of biological invasions at national, regional, and global scales) to reflect the changes to the text agreed in the SPM. ARGENTINA also noted that revisions should include a reference to marine islands, as discussed.
IPBES Chair Hernández thanked and congratulated the assessment’s Co-Chairs, authors, the technical support unit (TSU), the management committee, the Secretariat, and all those who contributed to the assessment, noting four years of intense work to deliver a robust document in terms of evidence and science.
Assessment Co-Chair Helen Roy thanked all experts who worked passionately with enthusiasm and a spirit of friendship and camaraderie, as well as Working Group Co-Chair Douglas Beard, and all those who contributed to the assessment, in particular the TSU, noting that “this assessment is here because of them.”
Assessment Co-Chair Peter Stoett, noting the severity of the threat IAS pose to our future, stressed “If you want to thank us, translate the science into policy,” indicating that the best way to do this is by leveraging its findings to inform the updating of NBSAPs.
Assessment Co-Chair Aníbal Pauchard emphasized that this comprehensive assessment needs to be translated into policies and actions, underscoring “We are all here because we want a better planet, conserving biodiversity, and offering better quality of life to our people.”
Delegates thanked all contributors with a long standing ovation.
Final Outcome: In its decision, the Plenary approves the SPM of the thematic assessment of IAS and their control, and accepts the chapters of the assessment, including their executive summaries.
The SPM features a short introduction focusing on definitions and key concepts, and four thematic sections, containing seven figures, three tables, and four boxes showcasing examples and case studies. The SPM also contains three appendices, communicating the degree of confidence, and providing a synthesis of knowledge and data gaps, and examples of data and knowledge products.
The introduction summarizes the scope and aim of the assessment and provides definitions of key terms, including biological invasion, native species, alien species, established alien species, invasive alien species, impacts, introduction pathways, and drivers.
Section A addresses IAS as a major threat to nature, Nature’s Contributions to People (NCP), and good quality of life, and contains the following key messages:
- People and nature are threatened by IAS in all regions of Earth.
- IAS cause dramatic and, in some cases, irreversible changes to biodiversity and ecosystems, resulting in adverse and complex outcomes across all regions of Earth, including local and global species extinctions.
- The economy, food security, water security, and human health are profoundly and negatively affected by IAS.
- IAS can add to marginalization and inequity, including, in some contexts, gender- and age-differentiated impacts.
- Overall, policies and their implementation have been insufficient in managing biological invasions and preventing and controlling IAS.
Section B discusses IAS trends, addressing their rapidly increasing impacts, containing the following key messages:
- Many human activities facilitate the transport, introduction, establishment, and spread of IAS.
- The threats from IAS are increasing markedly in all regions of Earth, with the current unparalleled high rate of introductions predicted to rise even higher in the future.
- The ongoing amplification of drivers of change in nature may substantially increase the number of IAS and their impacts in the future.
- The magnitude of the future threat from IAS is difficult to predict because of complex interactions and feedback among direct and indirect drivers of change in nature.
Section C addresses prevention and mitigation of negative impacts of IAS through effective management and contains the following key messages:
- The number and impact of IAS can be reduced through management of biological invasions.
- Prevention and preparedness are the most cost-effective options and thus crucial for managing the threats from IAS.
- Eradication has been successful, especially for small and slow-spreading populations of IAS, especially in isolated ecosystems.
- Containment and control can be an effective option for IAS that cannot be eradicated for various reasons in terrestrial and closed water systems but most attempts in marine and connected water systems have been largely ineffective.
- The recovery of ecosystem functions and NCPs can be achieved through adaptive management, including ecosystem restoration in terrestrial and closed water systems.
- Engagement and collaboration with stakeholders and IPLCs improve outcomes of management actions for biological invasions.
Section D addressed integrated governance to manage biological invasions and contains the following key messages:
- Through a complementary set of strategic actions, integrated governance can limit the global problem of IAS throughout the biological invasion process and at local, national, and regional scales.
- The threat of IAS could be reduced with closer collaboration and coordination across sectors and countries to support the management of biological invasions.
- The GBF provides an opportunity for national governments to develop or update aspirational, ambitious, and realistic approaches to prevent and control IAS.
- Preventing and controlling IAS can strengthen the effectiveness of policies designed to respond to other threats to biodiversity and contribute to achieving several SDGs.
- Open and interoperable information systems will improve the coordination and effectiveness of management of biological invasions, within and across countries.
- Public awareness, commitment and engagement and capacity building are crucial for the prevention and control of IAS.
- There is compelling evidence for immediate and sustained action to manage biological invasions and mitigate the negative impact of IAS.
Engagement with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Chair Hernández introduced the relevant documents (IPBES/10/1/Add.2, IPBES/10/7, and IPBES/10/INF/20. Members agreed to assign the consideration of the matter to WG 2, to be co-chaired by Bishwa Nath Oli.
On Tuesday, delegates shared examples of national activities to facilitate engagement between IPBES national focal points and their IPCC counterparts. Turning to the draft decision, members diverged on whether to “take note of” or “welcome” the note by the Secretariat on engagement with the IPCC, and whether to call for further suggestions for thematic or methodological issues related to biodiversity and climate change that would benefit from collaboration between IPBES and the IPCC.
Final Outcome: In its decision (IPBES/10/L.2), the Plenary:
- welcomes the note by the Secretariat on engagement with IPCC;
- takes note of the compilation of further suggestions from IPBES members for thematic or methodological issues related to biodiversity and climate change;
- invites IPBES national focal points to continue to engage with their IPCC counterparts;
- invites the Bureau and the Secretariat to continue to explore with the IPCC, early in its seventh assessment cycle, concrete approaches for cooperation and potential joint activities;
- requests the Secretariat to issue a new call for suggestions for thematic or methodological issues related to biodiversity and climate change; and to represent IPBES at IPCC-60, presenting the outcomes of IPBES 10;
- requests the Secretariat to produce a compilation of suggestions on the work on biodiversity and climate change and collaboration with the IPCC for consideration and further action by IPBES 11; and
- decides to enable governments to undertake an additional review of the SPM of the nexus and transformative change assessments, if considered feasible by the MEP and the Assessment’s Co-Chairs.
Building Capacity, Strengthening Knowledge Foundations, and Supporting Policy
On Tuesday, WG 2 Co-Chair Floyd Homer recalled the aim for IPBES 10 to consider: workplans for objectives 2 (building capacity), 3 (strengthening the knowledge foundations), and 4 (supporting policy) of the rolling work programme up to 2030 for the intersessional period between IPBES 10 and 11; and the necessary institutional arrangements. The five IPBES task forces provided an update on their work since IPBES 9. Delegates commented on the proposed workplans for objectives 2 and 3.a (advanced work on knowledge and data).
On Wednesday, delegates discussed the proposed workplans for objectives 3.b (enhanced recognition of and work with ILK systems), 4.a (advanced work on policy instruments, policy support tools, and methodologies), and 4.b (advanced work on scenarios and models of biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services).
Final Outcome: In its decision (IPBES/10/L.2), the Plenary approves five workplans for the intersessional period 2023-2024 and the institutional arrangements to support them. Some workplans will be carried out by the Bureau and the MEP, and others by task forces, for which the Plenary adopted terms of reference.
The workplan for objective 2 (building capacity) is contained in IPBES/10/L.8. On objective 2(a) (enhanced learning and engagement), the workplan includes activities for implementing the fellowship programme, and the training and familiarization programme for IPBES experts and stakeholders, including youth and other experts involved in the science-policy interface.
On objective 2(b) (facilitated access to expertise and information), the workplan lists the activities to support the uptake of approved assessment findings and other deliverables and the development of communities of practice around them, and the organization of the seventh meeting of the capacity-building forum.
On objective 2(c) (strengthened national and regional capacities), the activities will focus on facilitating the sharing of knowledge and best practices among: existing science-policy platforms; those interested in establishing new ones; and organizations and institutions that could support their establishment.
The task force on capacity building, supported by the Secretariat including a dedicated TSU, will oversee and undertake activities to ensure the workplan’s implementation. The task force will also continue developing and monitoring a set of relevant effectiveness indicators to be presented at IPBES 11.
The terms of reference for the task force on capacity building is contained in IPBES/10/L.14. The task force’s responsibilities include: overseeing and taking part in the implementation of objective 2 (building capacity) of the 2030 work programme; acting in accordance with relevant IPBES decisions; guiding the Secretariat, including the dedicated TSU, in implementing the capacity-building work (IPBES/10/L.8); and periodically reporting to the Plenary on progress made. The MEP and the Bureau will ensure coordination of activities and synergies across all IPBES task forces and expert groups.
The task force will be comprised of up to 18 members covering the five UN regions, including up to three members from the Bureau and the MEP. The task force will convene face-to-face meetings, online meetings, and other electronic interactions.
The workplan for objective 3(a) (advanced work on knowledge and data - data and knowledge management) is contained in IPBES/10/L.9. The workplan includes activities for: the maintenance of the data and knowledge management policy and further development of the long-term vision for data and knowledge management; the provision of support to assessment authors on aspects relating to the data and knowledge management policy, and the management, handling, and delivery of IPBES products; and engagement, as appropriate, with other entities, initiatives, and service providers on data and knowledge relevant to IPBES.
The terms of reference for the task force on data and knowledge management are contained in IPBES/10/L.15. The task force will be responsible for: overseeing and taking part in the implementation of objective 3.a (advanced work on knowledge and data) of the work programme up to 2030; acting in accordance with relevant IPBES decisions; supporting the identification, prioritization, and mobilization of existing knowledge and data needed for IPBES assessments; and guiding the Secretariat, including the dedicated TSU, in the management, long-term availability, and traceability of the data and knowledge used in IPBES products. The MEP and the Bureau will ensure coordination of activities and synergies across all IPBES task forces and expert groups.
The task force will be composed of up to 13 members covering the five UN regions, including up to three members from the Bureau and the MEP. It will be supported by the Secretariat, including a dedicated TSU, and will be co-chaired by the Bureau and/or MEP members. The task force will convene face-to-face meetings, online meetings, and other electronic interactions. The products delivered will be reviewed by the Bureau and the MEP and forwarded to the Plenary for its information and consideration, as appropriate.
The workplan for objective 3(a) (advanced work on knowledge and data - knowledge generation catalysis) is contained in IPBES/10/L.10. The workplan features, among others, activities for:
- reviewing and further developing the process for catalyzing the generation of new knowledge and identifying knowledge gaps, including the development of a proposal in collaboration with the task forces for scenarios and models, and for ILK;
- supporting assessment authors in identifying knowledge gaps;
- promoting actions by relevant external organizations and initiatives to address identified knowledge gaps; and
- developing and monitoring a set of relevant indicators for measuring effectiveness to be presented at IPBES 11.
The MEP and Bureau, supported by the Secretariat, including a dedicated TSU, will oversee and take part in the implementation of the workplan for the knowledge generation catalysis aspect of objective 3.a.
After IPBES 10, a call will be issued for submissions on ways to strengthen the ambition of this workplan, and the outcomes will be considered in the development of the following intersessional draft workplans, to be considered by IPBES 11.
The workplan for objective 3(b) (enhanced recognition of and work with ILK systems) is contained in IPBES/10/L.11. It includes activities for the implementation of the approach to recognize and work with ILK systems, such as:
- providing support for the assessment of: capacity building and training of ILK liaison groups for the nexus, transformative change, and business and biodiversity assessments; ongoing support to ILK liaison groups in identifying and addressing gaps in the mobilization of existing ILK; and support to the scoping of expert groups of any new assessments;
- dialogue workshops with members of IPLCs and experts on ILK;
- a scoping process to collaborate with the MEP in developing conceptual and methodological approaches to orient how to work with ILK;
- peer-review of assessment reports and post-assessment activities;
- further development of methodological guidance on the implementation of the approach; and
- review of ILK to include information on the IAS assessment.
The workplan also includes activities to strengthen the implementation of participatory mechanisms, and develop and monitor a set of relevant indicators to measure effectiveness of the workplan, to be considered at IPBES 11. The task force on ILK will implement the workplan, supported by the Secretariat, including a dedicated TSU.
The terms of reference for the task force on ILK are contained in IPBES/10/L.16. The task force will be responsible for: overseeing and taking part in the implementation of objective 3(b); and supporting the MEP and guiding the Secretariat in implementing the approach to recognizing and working with ILK in IPBES. The task force, composed of up to 18 members from the five UN regions, will be co-chaired by a member of the MEP or Bureau and a member of the task force.
The workplan for objective 4(a) (advanced work on policy instruments, policy support tools, and methodologies) is contained in IPBES/10/L.12. It includes, among others, activities to:
- facilitate an intersessional dialogue process on the future role of the policy support function and its related objectives to be considered at IPBES 11;
- increase the policy relevance of IPBES assessments;
- promote and support the use of IPBES products in decision-making; and
- ensure effective implementation of the workplan, including the development and monitoring of a set of relevant indicators for measuring effectiveness to be considered at IPBES 11.
The MEP and Bureau, supported by the Secretariat, including a dedicated TSU and in collaboration with the other task forces’ TSUs, will oversee and take part in the implementation of the workplan for the advanced work on policy instruments, policy support tools, and methodologies until IPBES 11.
The workplan for objective 4(b) (advanced work on scenarios and models of biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services) is contained in IPBES/10/L.13. Activities to provide support for scenarios and models for IPBES assessments include: peer reviews of the relevant drafts and mobilizing experts in scenarios and models, and other futures studies to contribute to upcoming assessments; providing advice and input to IPBES assessment author groups on scenarios and models; engaging with scenarios and models experts of other intergovernmental processes; and organizing an in-person workshop during the intersessional period between IPBES 10 and 12, and presenting a report at IPBES 12.
Activities of the workplan to promote dialogue include: mobilizing existing communities to facilitate the development of relevant scenarios and models; providing relevant guidance and information on the work of IPBES; catalyzing the production of scenarios and models of global communities of practice to work at the regional scale; preparing a compilation of gaps and needs regarding nature-centered scenarios and models; collecting examples of the development of scenarios using the Nature Future Framework in various places, scales, and thematic contexts; and engaging with relevant stakeholders.
A set of relevant indicators for measuring effectiveness is also included in the workplan to ensure effective implementation.
The task force on scenarios and models will implement the workplan, supported by the Secretariat, including a dedicated TSU.
The terms of reference for the task force on scenarios and models of biodiversity and ecosystem services are contained in IPBES/10/L.17. The task force is responsible for overseeing and taking part in the implementation of objective 4.b, for the further development of tools and methodologies regarding scenarios and models to facilitate the provision of advice to all expert teams, and to catalyze further development for future IPBES assessments. The task force will guide the Secretariat in the provision of support, and the MEP and Bureau will ensure coordination of activities and synergies across all task forces and expert groups. The task force, composed of up to 18 members from the five UN regions, will be co-chaired by a member of the MEP.
Improving the Effectiveness of the Platform
On Friday, WG 2 Co-Chair Bishwa Nath Oli welcomed delegates’ views on the draft terms of reference for the midterm review of the rolling work programme up to 2030, noting it will feature both an internal and external review. Members debated at length:
- where and how to refer to the special circumstances of developing countries;
- whether to separate references to members from those to observers and other stakeholders; and
- whether and where to insert references to the fulfillment of the IPBES operating principles or specific references to regional, gender, and linguistic balance as well as multidisciplinary perspectives and diverse knowledge systems.
Members diverged on whether the external review panel should be supported by an independent qualified consultant or coordinated by an external professional organization.
Following informal consultations and stressing the spirit of compromise and the need to launch the midterm review in a timely manner, delegates agreed on a package decision to:
- include a paragraph on the need to facilitate the full and effective participation of all members, experts, observers, and stakeholders, including from developing countries, as well as the need for gender equity in all relevant aspects of IPBES work;
- include another paragraph reviewing the fulfillment of the IPBES operating principles;
- withdraw the suggestion of the external review being coordinated by an external professional organization; and
- specify that the external review will be supported by a qualified consultant recruited by the Secretariat through an open call and in consultation with the Bureau and MEP.
Turning to the relevant decision regarding the call for the nomination of candidates for the review panel by the Bureau, members agreed to include references to gender and considerations of multidisciplinary expertise, outreach, and implementation as well as IPLCs and youth.
Delegates also accepted the inclusion of a paragraph to enable governments to undertake an additional review of the SPM of the nexus and transformative change assessments if considered feasible by the MEP and assessments’ Co-Chairs.
During the closing plenary, BRAZIL lamented the lack of specific reference to linguistic, regional, and gender diversity in the literature of all IPBES products and the importance of assessing capacity of developing countries to participate fully.
Final Outcome: In its decision (IPBES/10/L.2), the Plenary approves the revised draft terms of reference for the midterm review of the rolling work programme up to 2030 contained in IPBES/10/L.18.
The review will be conducted between IPBES 10 and 12, and evaluate the effectiveness of the institutional arrangements of IPBES and its Secretariat, the procedures for the preparation of IPBES deliverables, the online working arrangements, and, to the extent possible, the policy impact of the work of IPBES.
The review will consist of an internal review conducted by the Bureau and the MEP between IPBES 10 and 11, followed by an external review conducted by a review panel of 15 members between IPBES 11 and 12. The external review will take into account the findings of the internal review and will be supported by a qualified consultant.
Each review will produce a report to provide specific recommendations for the further implementation of the rolling work programme up to 2030, including on the implementation of all six work programme objectives in line with relevant decisions and budgets approved by the IPBES Plenary. The reports will also include recommendations responding to the need to facilitate the full and effective participation of all members, observers, experts, and stakeholders, including from developing countries, as well as the need for gender equity in all relevant aspects of the work of IPBES.
The Plenary requests:
- the Bureau and MEP to conduct the internal review and to present a report for consideration by IPBES 11;
- the Secretariat to call for nominations for the external review panel, with a view to ensuring regional and gender representation, consideration of multidisciplinary expertise, expertise on outreach and implementation as well as IPLCs and youth for selection by the Bureau; and
- the review panel to conduct the external review and present a report on the outcomes of the review, including specific recommendations for the further implementation of the 2030 rolling work programme, for consideration by IPBES 12.
Rolling Work Programme of the Platform up to 2030
WG 2 Co-Chair Julia Marton-Lefèvre invited comments on the proposed topics and timing of future reports. MEP Co-Chair Luthando Dziba (African Group) recalled the Bureau’s and MEP’s proposal for IPBES 10 to include in the work programme:
- a second global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services;
- a fast-track methodological assessment on monitoring biodiversity and NCP;
- a fast-track methodological assessment on integrated biodiversity-inclusive spatial planning and ecological connectivity; and
- a fast-track assessment on biodiversity and climate change, with the exact topic to be determined later.
Members expressed strong support for preparing a second global assessment to be delivered at IPBES 15. Co-Chair Marton-Lefèvre also noted general agreement for an assessment on monitoring to be delivered at IPBES 13. Discussions centered on the topics for the remaining two slots.
Many expressed support for an assessment on spatial planning and connectivity. An observer organization recalled calls by various multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) for IPBES to address this topic. However, one member suggested postponing the connectivity assessment and instead conducting an assessment on living well in balance and harmony with Mother Earth.
A number of members preferred not to prioritize a report on biodiversity and climate change, noting that the topic is adequately covered elsewhere. Several emphasized the need to address the issue of pollution, stressing knowledge gaps on this key driver of biodiversity loss.
On Wednesday, members began considering the initial scoping report for the methodological assessment on monitoring, starting with its scope and rationale. Delegates engaged in lengthy discussions over: which multilateral processes the report would support and how to refer to them; and what information and sources the assessment will draw on.
On Thursday, members turned to the chapter outline and timeline of the monitoring assessment. Later in the evening they agreed on the preparation of the assessment on spatial planning and ecological connectivity.
On Friday, delegates considered the initial scoping report for the assessment on spatial planning and ecological connectivity. In an evening session, the member advocating for having the second fast-track assessment focusing on the topic of living well in balance with Mother Earth accepted the Bureau’s and MEP’s suggestion to instead address this as part of the second global assessment.
Members agreed to add a paragraph to the relevant decision by which the MEP is requested to give due consideration to addressing and working with ILK in the scoping of the second global assessment and incorporating references to ILK in all chapters, as appropriate.
Final Outcome: In its decision (IPBES/10/L.2), the Plenary:
- approves the scoping process for a second global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services;
- approves the undertaking of a fast-track methodological assessment on monitoring biodiversity and NCP;
- approves the undertaking of a fast-track methodological assessment of biodiversity-inclusive spatial planning and ecological connectivity; and
- decides to determine the exact topic for a further assessment at IPBES 12, building on a further call for suggestions.
The Plenary also requests the MEP to give due consideration to addressing and working with ILK in the scoping of the second global assessment, with a dedicated chapter on different knowledge systems, including, among others, “living well in balance and harmony with Mother Earth,” and the incorporation of ILK in all chapters, as appropriate, as referred to in the IPBES conceptual framework.
The initial scoping report for the second global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services is set out in IPBES/10/10, Annex II, and is divided into four sections: objectives, methodological approach, overall scope, and timetable.
The objective of the second global assessment is, among other things, to support governments and stakeholders in implementing the GBF and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The second global assessment will draw on scientific literature, ILK, and grey literature, in line with the procedures for the preparation of Platform deliverables. It will focus on new evidence that has emerged since the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment, and build on other IPBES assessment reports, including methodological and thematic assessments, and the most recent IPCC assessment reports. It will also consider knowledge gaps identified in the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment.
The overall scope of the second global assessment will be comprehensive and broadly similar to 2019 IPBES Global Assessment, without repetitive or unnecessary duplication. It will address all aspects of the goals, targets, and other elements of the GBF and cover terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, with major emphasis on marine ecosystems.
The second global assessment will also, among other things:
- incorporate diverse values and worldviews;
- address living well in balance and harmony with Mother Earth and nature;
- incorporate a gender-sensitive approach;
- analyze past, present, and possible future trends in biodiversity and NCP and their impact on good quality of life, values, and response options, and direct and indirect drivers of those trends;
- assess progress, and present options to diverse stakeholders, in the achievement of goals and targets for the conservation and sustainable use of nature (including the GBF and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development); and
- provide information that could be used to develop updated goals and targets to support the follow-up to GBF after 2030.
The scoping workshop with experts is expected in the first or second quarter of 2024. The first author meeting will be in the fourth quarter of 2025, with the first external review in the second quarter of 2026. The Plenary will consider the SPM for approval and chapters for acceptance at IPBES 15 (fourth quarter, 2028), after a final review of the final drafts of the chapters and the SPM made available to governments (third/fourth quarter, 2028).
The initial scoping report of the methodological assessment on monitoring biodiversity and NCP, is set out in IPBES/10/L.6 and contains three sections: scope, rationale, timeline and geographical coverage, and methodological approach; chapter outline; and timetable.
The objective of the fast-track assessment is to support national and global efforts to: monitor biodiversity, NCP, and the direct and underlying causes of the observed changes; and monitor progress towards the goals and targets of the GBF and contributing to monitoring of the SDGs and other relevant MEAs, processes, and efforts.
The assessment will be consistent with the IPBES conceptual framework, taking into account other knowledge systems and different value systems.
The report will assess what data and systems are currently available and needed to calculate the indicators of the monitoring framework for the GBF, prioritizing headline indicators. Taking into account the specific circumstances faced by developing countries, the report will also assess: the current capacity, capability, and resources to collect and analyze data at the national and global scales; gaps in data availability and access, and existing biases in taxonomic, geographic, and temporal coverage of data for marine, inland water, and terrestrial environments; and challenges and barriers related to the capacities and means of implementation to generate, access and share data.
The assessment will identify opportunities to further develop national and regional biodiversity monitoring capacities and Indigenous and citizen-science biodiversity monitoring.
The assessment will be carried out over a two-year period, using the fast-track approach for thematic and methodological assessments. It will be global in scope, providing information relevant to all biogeographic and oceanographic zones at all scales, from subnational to global. In line with the monitoring framework for the GBF, the assessment will prioritize the period 2011-2020 as the reference period, using long-term historical data, natural state, and historical trends in biodiversity loss where applicable.
The assessment will consist of a SPM and four chapters. It will draw on peer-reviewed literature, official national data and reports, ILK, and a range of other sources.
The assessment will review existing methodologies, experience in biodiversity monitoring, and new technologies for estimating biodiversity. It will identify monitoring challenges and define options for dealing with missing data and information and other constraints that could prevent monitoring at relevant scales.
The assessment contains the following four chapters:
- setting the scene;
- assessing the data needs;
- assessing the challenges in biodiversity monitoring to meet needs; and
- options for strengthening the capacity to monitor biodiversity worldwide.
The assessment is expected to hold its first author meeting in the second quarter of 2024, conduct the first external review in the first quarter of 2025, and finalize draft chapters and the SPM to be presented to IPBES 13 in the fourth quarter of 2026.
The initial scoping report for the methodological assessment of integrated biodiversity-inclusive spatial planning and ecological connectivity is set out in IPBES/10/L.7. The methodological assessment will address the use and change in use of land, inland waters and sea, including areas beyond national jurisdiction. It will be directly relevant to the goals and targets of the GBF, support the implementation of the SDGs, and inform other relevant MEAs, processes, and efforts.
The methodological assessment will cover methods, guidance, tools, scenarios, models, data, knowledge, and capacity building for integrating biodiversity considerations into, and promoting connectivity in, spatial planning, across sectors and scales. It will also cover relevant lessons learned and best practice. It will look at participatory approaches, including those involving IPLCs with particular attention to developing countries.
This will likewise be a fast-track methodological assessment, addressing all scales of geographical coverage. The assessment will consist of a SPM and six chapters.
For relevant knowledge and data, the assessment will identify key gaps. It will draw on: peer-reviewed literature; official national data and reports; ILK; and other sources (decision IPBES-3/3). The six chapters of this methodological assessment are as follows:
- Setting the scene: defining spatial planning in the context of biodiversity conservation, ecological connectivity and provision of NCP;
- Implementing target 1 of the GBF on biodiversity-inclusive spatial planning;
- Implementing targets 2 and 3 of the GBF, on restoration and protected areas and other area-based conservation measures;
- Maintaining, restoring and enhancing ecological connectivity;
- Spatial planning for the future; and
- Creating an enabling environment for integrated biodiversity-inclusive spatial planning and ecological connectivity.
The assessment is expected to hold its first author meeting in the third quarter of 2025, conduct the first external review in the second quarter of 2026, and finalize draft chapters and the SPM to be presented to IPBES 14 in the fourth quarter of 2027.
Organization of the Plenary
During the opening plenary, Chair Hernández presented the relevant documents (IPBES/10/11 and IPBES/10/1/Add.2), noting that IPBES 11 will take place from 10-16 December 2024 and IPBES 12 will be held in late 2025. She invited offers to host the sessions. Spain, for the EU, stressed the need to align the schedule of deliverables with the CBD process, especially the GBF.
During the closing plenary, delegates accepted Namibia’s offer to host IPBES 11. The UNITED KINGDOM suggested to change the proposed schedule of IPBES 12 from “late 2025” to “second half of 2025,” due to the importance of having the second global assessment ready for IPBES 15, which requires a shorter intersessional period between IPBES 11 and 12 than the previous years’ average of 14-15 months. With regard to a bracketed paragraph, members also accepted the EU’s proposed language on taking into account timelines of IPBES assessments when considering the dates of future sessions of the Plenary, with a view to enabling their timely consideration by relevant bodies of biodiversity-related conventions.
Final Outcome: In its decision, the Plenary:
- decides IPBES 11 will be held in Namibia from 10-16 December 2024;
- decides IPBES 12 will be held in the second half of 2025;
- invites members in a position to do so to consider hosting IPBES 12;
- invites the Bureau to take the timelines of IPBES assessments into account when considering the date of future session of the Plenary, with a view to enabling their timely consideration by relevant bodies of the biodiversity-related conventions.;
- takes note of the draft provisional agendas for IPBES 11 and 12, annexed to the decision; and
- requests the Secretariat to invite written comments on the proposed organization of work for IPBES 11 and finalize the organization of work in line with the comments received.
Adoption of the Decisions and the Report of the Session
On Saturday, 2 September, Chair Hernández introduced document IPBES/10/L.2 on the implementation of the rolling work programme up to 2030. Delegates approved the draft decision with a minor amendment, also approving the following as they moved through the document:
- the scoping report for the methodological assessment on monitoring biodiversity (IPBES/10/L.6);
- the scoping report for the methodological assessment of integrated biodiversity-inclusive spatial planning and ecological connectivity (IPBES/10/L.7);
- the workplan for objective 2: building capacity, for the intersessional period 2023-2024 (IPBES/10/L.8);
- the workplan for objective 3(a): advanced work on knowledge and data – data and knowledge management, for the intersessional period 2023-2024 (IPBES/10/L.9);
- the workplan for objective 3(a): advanced work on knowledge and data – knowledge generation catalysis, for the intersessional period 2023-2024 (IPBES/10/L.10);
- the workplan for objective 3(b): enhanced recognition of and work with ILK systems, for the intersessional period 2023-2024 (IPBES/10/L.11);
- the workplan for objective 4(a): advanced work on policy instruments, policy support tools and methodologies, for the intersessional period 2023-2024 (IPBES/10/L.12);
- the workplan for objective 4(b): advanced work on scenarios and models, for the intersessional period 2023-2024 (IPBES/10/L.13);
- terms of reference for the task force on capacity building (IPBES/10/L.14);
- terms of reference for the task force on data and knowledge management (IPBES/10/L.15);
- terms of reference for the task force on ILK (IPBES/10/L.16);
- terms of reference for the task force on scenarios and models (IPBES/10/L.17); and
- terms of reference for a midterm review of the 2030 rolling work programme of IPBES (IPBES/10/L.18).
Rapporteur Felix Kanungwe Kalaba (Zambia) introduced the meeting’s report (IPBES/10/L.1), noting that it will be finalized with the proceedings of the closing plenary session once the meeting is over. Members approved the report.
On Saturday, 2 September, Anne Larigauderie, IPBES Executive Secretary, stressed that IAS are probably the least understood of the five direct drivers of biodiversity loss, noting this soon is going to change, as IAS will receive the priority attention they demand from policymakers around the world, thanks to the IAS Assessment. She stressed that IAS constitute a topic of global importance that will resonate both locally and globally. She drew attention to increased media interest with 400 media accreditations for the press conference that officially launches the assessment on Monday, 4 September.
She emphasized IPBES’ important role in informing the implementation of the GBF and highlighted the initiation of the process for the second global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services, scheduled to be finalized in 2028. She also underscored the approved workplans and new structure for the IPBES task forces.
She stressed that the group of experts for the IAS Assessment is made up of world leaders on IAS science, who have volunteered their time, energy, and ideas, sometimes at great cost to their personal and professional lives. She underscored that without them, IPBES could not function, and thanked them for their invaluable contributions. She thanked all contributors for their hard work, dedication, and commitment.
IPBES Chair Hernández stressed that IPBES is a beacon of excellence and collaboration, with the diversity of perspectives and knowledge systems infused in it adding to its wealth. She outlined the meeting’s achievements, including the adoption of the SPM of the IAS Assessment, thanking all delegates for their active and intense participation. She thanked all contributors to the Assessment and the Secretariat, expressing her admiration on “how so few of you can be so powerful in terms of your knowledge.” Welcoming the incoming Chair and Bureau members, she stressed that the Platform is in excellent hands.
Quoting Gabriel García Márquez that “life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it,” she stressed “It was an honor, pleasure, and privilege to serve the Platform along with all of you.” As the outgoing IPBES Chair, she quoted her father, noting “There is no better feeling than saying goodbye with the satisfaction of a job well done.”
Spain, for the EU, congratulated all those who worked on the thematic assessment of IAS, highlighting that it is a thorough, robust, and comprehensive report. She reiterated the important role of IPBES within the context of the GBF and encouraged members to help increase the Platform’s donor base, calling for balanced contributions according to members’ circumstances.
Botswana, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, expressed her appreciation for the culmination of the IAS assessment report. She noted with concern the identified gaps in information, and expressed hope that the work of the task forces and the additional elements of the rolling work programme will help in addressing these.
Saint Lucia, on behalf of GRULAC, expressed deep satisfaction with the outcomes of IPBES 10. He highlighted the potential of IPBES work in supporting the national implementation of global goals. He thanked outgoing Chair Hernández for her strong and clever leadership, particularly in light of COVID-19-related challenges.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, for EASTERN EUROPE, welcomed the IAS Assessment, noting it delivers best-available evidence and options for IAS control, in particular through prevention. He noted it is heartening to see IPBES reaffirm the words of Theodore Roosevelt that “conservation means development as much as it does protection.”
India, for the ASIA-PACIFIC GROUP, welcomed the IAS Assessment as the scientific foundation supporting the effective implementation of GBF target 6 on IAS. Noting strengthened international cooperation is essential to address the threat of IAS, he emphasized the need for targeted capacity building to achieve global goals. He pointed to ongoing discussions on establishing a regional hub for capacity building in the region.
The US, as the host of IPBES 10, reaffirmed its enduring commitment to the critical mission of IPBES and to strengthening the Platform.
IIFBES noted IPBES is an example for other international bodies and agreements as well as national governments on how to engage with IPLCs and diverse systems of knowledge. Emphasizing the need for full and effective participation of IPLCs, she called for members to provide funding to support the participation of representatives from all seven geo-cultural IPLC regions.
The OPEN-ENDED NETWORK OF IPBES STAKEHOLDERS welcomed members’ efforts on enhancing collaboration with the IPCC. Underscoring stakeholders’ readiness to foster the uptake of the IAS assessment, he urged decision makers to make effective use of IPBES products.
Chair Hernández thanked all participants for their hard work and gaveled the meeting to a close at 1:02 pm.
A Brief Analysis of IPBES-10
“We don’t know what the future will bring,
but that’s because we are ever in the process of creating it,
not because it is an alien force to which we have to submit.”
— Mark Kingwell, Canadian Professor of Philosophy
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was created in 2012 to provide evidence-based and policy-relevant information on the planet’s biodiversity and ecosystems, and the benefits they provide to people. Today, the Platform is well established in the international environmental governance landscape. Thanks to the work of hundreds of experts, IPBES has produced ten assessment reports in ten years. The Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services identified the main drivers of biodiversity loss and we might very well have to thank the Thematic Assessment on Pollinators, Pollination, and Food Production for inspiring the surge of pollinator-friendly seed mixes and insect hotels found in garden centers around the world.
The most notable outcome of the tenth session of the IPBES Plenary (IPBES 10) was the launch of a new Thematic Assessment of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) and their control. As the Platform’s first meeting after the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the landmark Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), which will guide global efforts to conserve, restore, and sustainably use biodiversity, IPBES 10 also took advantage of the opportunity to adopt several decisions aimed at informing implementation and monitoring of the GBF. Discussions at this meeting further showed delegates’ great interest in enhancing IPBES’ role, both in responding to policy needs and tackling research gaps.
This brief analysis will take stock of these outcomes and, drawing on the week’s negotiations, and reflect on the expectations for the Platform going forward.
The Assessment of Invasive Alien Species and their control
IAS are, according to IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie, probably the least understood of the five direct drivers of biodiversity loss (changes in land- and sea-use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, and pollution, as the other four).
IAS are a subset of alien species, meaning species that have been introduced, either naturally, accidentally or intentionally, into an environment outside of their natural habitat. Human activities facilitate the transport, introduction, establishment, and spread of alien species. At least 37,000 alien species have been introduced by human activities and have become established in new areas. Around 10% of them rapidly reproduced and outcompeted native species for habitat, food, and water, having devastating impacts on native biota and landscapes, and spurring extinctions. These constitute IAS, with the proportion of established alien species known to be invasive ranging from 6% of all alien plants to 22% of all alien invertebrates.
IAS have been a driver for 60%, and the only driver for 16%, of documented plant and animal extinctions at the global level. Increasing our understanding of IAS is thus key to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. IAS also have an impact on food and water security, human health, nature’s contributions to people, and a good quality of life. The economic cost is heavy, approximating half a trillion USD annually at the global level.
For these reasons, the IPBES Assessment of IAS is invaluable. It not only offers a comprehensive overview of the status quo, but also outlines key policy options for prevention, early detection, effective control, and mitigation of the negative impacts of IAS. Without strategies to manage IAS, they are likely to increase, although one should be cautious with future predictions due to the complex interactions among direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss.
Negotiations on the IAS Assessment at IPBES 10 were lengthy and painstaking, often continuing into the night and with debates around definitional issues coming up time and time again throughout the week. Notably, the broader discussions were often dominated by developing countries. As one delegate highlighted, this “indicates both the importance of IAS for developing countries and the fact that there were fewer politically controversial issues,” keeping many of the dichotomies at bay that usually bring about clashes between developed and developing countries in international environmental fora. This does not mean total absence of controversy, however, as IPBES members strived to ensure that their national priorities and concerns are reflected in the Summary for Policymakers, including discussions on some of the “usual suspects” in biodiversity-related negotiations, such as references to the precautionary approach/principle.
The Assessment stresses that IAS management can reduce negative impacts, with prevention and preparedness as the most cost-effective options. It further offers a variety of management options, underscoring that eradication works well for small and slow-spreading populations of IAS, especially in isolated ecosystems. Containment and control can be effective options for terrestrial and closed water systems, and adaptive management, including ecosystem restoration, may recover ecosystem functions and nature’s contributions to people. Effective management of biological invasions can be achieved through open and interoperable information systems that improve coordination and increase effectiveness.
Public awareness, engagement, and capacity building are also key in these efforts. As a delegate emphasized, “IAS offer a fertile entrance point for increased international cooperation,” pointing to transboundary movements that, by their nature, require synergies and joint efforts, and to the co-benefits that may arise from sharing lessons learned on cases where IAS have been successfully managed.
Despite moments of uncertainty, where consensus seemed distant, the skillful guidance of Working Group Co-Chair Douglas Beard helped conclude negotiations in time for a smooth adoption. While all participants at IPBES 10 recognized and celebrated the Assessment’s valuable contribution to the fight against IAS, some members pointed to data gaps and underrepresentation of certain regions, in particular from Africa. As a long-standing delegate highlighted, “While the problem of data gaps exists, it is a conceptual leap to attribute this to lack of diligence by the Assessment’s authors as it mainly reflects systemic imbalances.” Another participant quickly added, “It is neither solely an IPBES problem, nor can IPBES really solve it on its own.”
Celebrations after the Assessment’s successful adoption did not make participants at IPBES 10 lose sight of the bigger picture. Any IPBES assessment, notwithstanding its scientific caliber, is “as good as its uptake by policymakers.” In this respect, Peter Stoett, one of the Assessment’s Co-Chairs, called on decision makers to thank the contributing experts by translating the science into policy. He pointed towards the evolving CBD national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) as the best way to achieve this. As a delegate noted on her way out of the World Conference Center in Bonn at the end of IPBES 10, “Although policy uptake is a winding road, the potential to move the needle is definitely there.” A vibrant IPBES communication team and increased media attention can help a lot in that respect.
An Institution in Demand
From the outset of the meeting, IPBES members and stakeholders set out their expectations for IPBES 10 to ensure the Platform supports the implementation and monitoring of the GBF. The IAS Assessment, which is directly linked to GBF Target 6, is but one piece of the puzzle. In Bonn, delegates decided to prepare a second global biodiversity assessment and, crucially, a methodological assessment on monitoring biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people. The experts that will contribute to the latter assessment have their work cut out for them. As of now, the monitoring framework for the GBF is “little more than a set of more… or less… actionable indicators jumbled together in a loose pile,” noted a delegate, who added that a robust assessment on biodiversity monitoring might also prove beneficial for tracking progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For IPBES to make a meaningful contribution to the GBF, timing is of the essence. As several regional groups highlighted in their closing remarks, it is important to align IPBES’ work with the timeline for work under the CBD.
Delegates in Bonn also agreed to prepare an assessment on biodiversity-inclusive spatial planning and ecological connectivity. The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (WHC), among others, all requested such a report. With the decision to respond to this request, IPBES is set to solidify its position as not only informing the CBD, but also other biodiversity-related conventions and multilateral environmental agreements.
Several members also expressed their interest in seeing the last slot for an assessment on the rolling work programme up to 2030 address the topic of pollution—another of the five direct drivers of biodiversity loss. They emphasized such an assessment would inform the work of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, with one member also drawing links to the recently recognized human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. While the decision will only be made at IPBES 12 in 2025, discussions at IPBES 10 showed little support for the Bureau and the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel’s proposal to have the last assessment address biodiversity and climate change. Collaboration between IPBES and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been a “notoriously hard nut to crack,” shared an observer, who nevertheless hoped that things might improve during the IPCC’s seventh assessment cycle, which has just begun under new leadership.
Overall, discussions in Bonn underscored the high expectations addressed to the Platform. Members and stakeholders not only look to IPBES to deliver comprehensive assessments on topics of relevance for tackling biodiversity loss, but also for taking a more active role at the science-policy interface. Building on previous engagement with research funding organizations, such as the Belmont Forum, IPBES 10 specifically mandated the Platform to engage with relevant external organizations and initiatives to address identified knowledge gaps. Many also view IPBES as the key body to develop frameworks for working with Indigenous and local knowledge and expect the Platform to strengthen its approach to engaging with Indigenous knowledge holders.
As outgoing IPBES Chair Ana María Hernández Salgar stressed during the closing plenary, “IPBES is a beacon of excellence and collaboration, with the diversity of perspectives and knowledge systems infused in it adding to its wealth.” In a world where individualism and self-interest increasingly reign, the Platform may well offer the prospect of a better world for all life on Earth, including through its upcoming work on living well in balance and harmony with Mother Earth.