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IPBES6: Biodiversity assessments for launch as policymakers meet

Beginning with an official opening ceremony to be addressed by the President of Colombia on Saturday, March 17, 2018, leading experts from around the world will convene in Medellin for eight days with policymakers from more than 115 countries to finalise landmark reports from five major expert assessments, focused on biodiversity, nature’s contributions to people and issues of land degradation and restoration.

Sir Robert Watson, Chair of IPBES

An estimated 750 delegates will participate in the sixth session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES6), chaired by Sir Robert Watson.

“Taken together, these five peer-reviewed assessment reports represent the single most important expert contribution to our global understanding of biodiversity and ecosystem services of the past decade,” said Watson. The assessments will provide unprecedented insights into the status of global biodiversity and land quality, both of which are essential to quality of life and healthy, productive ecosystems.

Often called “the IPCC for biodiversity”, IPBES is the global science-policy platform tasked with providing the best-available evidence to inform better decisions about nature.

The reports being launched at IPBES6 were completed over three years by 550 scientists and experts from more than 100 countries.

Four of the studies present the state of biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people in the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Europe and Central Asia. The fifth assessment report assesses the global problem of land degradation and available remedies.

The five reports will be key inputs to a comprehensive IPBES global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services, due for release in 2019, the first such global evaluation since the authoritative 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

In addition to helping decision makers evaluate lessons learned and progress on major global development commitments – such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Paris Agreement on climate change – the reports will also provide vital information for setting biodiversity targets for the period after 2020.

“Biodiversity and nature’s contributions are essential to sustain the economic well-being, food security and quality of life of all people,” said Watson. “As one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, Colombia provides the ideal setting for IPBES6, and we thank the Government and people of Colombia for extending their warm and generous hospitality for these vital global discussions.”

Speaking about the confluence of so many important environmental activities, the Executive Secretary of IPBES, Dr. Anne Larigauderie, said: “There is a rising awareness of the need for nature and the environment to be at the heart of all development planning – IPBES is proud to be able to offer decision makers around the world evidence they need for better policies and more effective action for the sustainable future we want.”


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