New United Nations secretariat (IPBES) to go to Bonn

In Panama on 19 April the international community resolved that the UN secretariat of the new Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) will be located in Bonn. The vote for Bonn is an acknowledgement by the international community of Germany's strong ongoing commitment to the conservation of biological diversity. Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen said: 'The decision to locate the IPBES secretariat in Bonn is a huge success for us - particularly since the field of competitors was so strong. The international community's decision is a tribute to our longstanding commitment to the worldwide conservation of biodiversity, and further reinforces Bonn's role as a UN centre. Once again, cooperation between the German Federal Government and city authorities has succeeded in bringing an important institution to Bonn. Like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the IPBES will provide independent information on the global status of and trends in biodiversity. This will make Bonn an important centre for international biodiversity policy.'

A persuasive argument for the German bid was that Bonn is already the location of 18 UN organisations with around a thousand employees in the area of environmental protection, climate change and nature conservation. Most of them are based on the UN Campus in the former parliamentary district on the Rhine. Of special significance to the work of IPBES in future are the secretariats of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (UNEP/CMS). Bonn is 'the' location for the synthesis of environmental protection and international development.

The principal task of IPBES is to put reliable, independent and credible information on the status and development of biodiversity at the disposal of policy-makers to aid their decision-making. 

It will gather and analyse global scientific data and propose options for action, thus supporting governments in their work to conserve biodiversity. It will help eerging economies and developing countries to build capacity, for example by supporting (junior) researchers, establishing scientific cooperation links and making it easier to access scholarly literature and databases.

At the invitation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), some 300 delegates from over 100 countries met in Panama from 16 to 21 April to negotiate the possible functions, tasks, legal status, administrative structure and financing of the new body.

Germany has been a longstanding and steadfast partner in international biodiversity conservation, and has stepped up its commitment in recent years: during the German presidency of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) from 2008 to 2010, the German Government gave political impetus to the negotiation process on the establishment of IPBES, and contributed financially to its realisation. From 2009 to 2012, the German Government will provide an additional 500 million euros, and then 500 million euros annually from 2013, for the conservation and sustainable use of forests and other vital ecosystems.