IPBES to become IPCC on biodiversity?

This week the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity gathers in Japan. Under discussion is the formation of a scientific body to assess the threats to biodiversity, much like the IPCC assesses the science behind climate change.

However, so far, parties at the CBD don’t seem overly enthousiastic about the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), going no further than politely welcoming it in the draft text – but so far refraining from concrete agreements. The meeting will see its second week next week, ending on the 29th – leaving some room for progress.

The IPBES was established earlier this year in South Korea. It will have to be formally installed not by the CBD, but by the UN’s General Assembly.

It seems the world could do with some scientific biodiversity assessment. The future IPBES authors on their part would be wise to take note of the IAC recommendations for the IPCC. But no doubt, even with the highest editorial standards, some will even try and deny biodiversity. It’s by far the easiest way to prevent extinctions. And IPBES can be blamed in advance for being a political organisation. Because these days it’s not just the climate or the biodiversity, it’s also science that’s under threat.

© Rolf Schuttenhelm | www.bitsofscience.org

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