United Nations approves creation of “IPCC for biodiversity”
In a resolution adopted today, the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly approved the creation of the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). UNESCO is one of the international organizations* designated to organize the upcoming meeting for the creation of this new body, which has been established following the model of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).
The main objective of IPBES is to promote awareness among political decision-makers and the general public of the disastrous consequences of biodiversity loss. The aim is to ensure that scientific knowledge about the very rapid disappearance of a great number of vegetable and animal species and the erosion of ecosystems leads to concrete measures. IPBES is intended to facilitate this process.
According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), in which UNESCO was involved, ecosystems in the last 50 years were destroyed on an unprecedented scale and at an unprecedented rate. Record growth in cultivated land, overexploitation of freshwater resources and fish stocks, massive pollution by fertilizers and erosion of certain natural environments such as mangroves and coral reefs: all these phenomena, which have markedly increased in recent decades, lead to the massive extinction of species (12% of birds, 25% of mammals and 32% of amphibians are threatened with extinction within a century), do damage to the services provided by nature and constitute a real threat for the future.
The United Nations resolution was passed at the end of the International Year of Biodiversity, with which UNESCO has been closely associated. The idea of a platform that would place the issue of biodiversity at the top of the international political agenda was launched in 2005, at an international conference at UNESCO on biodiversity and governance. This conference laid the foundations for the negotiations that led to the creation of IPBES. A decisive step was taken in Busan (South Korea) in June 2010, when the governments of 75 countries approved the creation of this platform.
The next stage will take place in Nairobi (Kenya) in February 2011, when the Environment Ministers attending the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme/Global Ministerial Forum approve the organization of the first IPBES plenary meeting, scheduled to take place before June 2011. Operating procedures will be defined and the location of the IPBES secretariat decided at this meeting.
* In cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).