21.01.2015

IPBES plenary session in Bonn opened

Group of people sitting on podium

Picture: BMUB/Angela Ruthenberg

Today Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks opened the third plenary session of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in Bonn. The main task of IPBES is to provide policy advice in the field of biodiversity. From 12 to 17 January the intergovernmental body, comparable to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is meeting at the World Conference Centre Bonn (WCCB) which was formerly the plenary chamber of the German Bundestag.

Minister Hendricks made the following statement: "We politicians need detailed proposals for action to put a stop to biodiversity loss. After all how could we regulate our climate without the tropical rainforests storing CO2? How could we develop new active pharmaceutical substances for medicinal products without the diversity of genetic resources? And how could we enjoy a balanced diet without the diversity of plant and animal based foods? I know without a doubt that we need biological diversity and the essential services provided by ecosystems to achieve sustainable development."

The IPBES plays an important role in the context of the UN post-2015 agenda for sustainable development and the sustainable development goals. IPBES was created to provide political decision-makers with reliable, independent and credible information on the status and development of biodiversity and to enable them to make well-informed decisions on its protection. IPBES is administrated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Secretariat's headquarters is in Bonn.

Around 20 German scientists are already actively involved in expert groups of the IPBES work programme. Scoping documents are currently being drawn up for assessments on land degradation and restoration and an assessment on pollinators, pollination and food production as well as scoping documents for regional and sub-regional assessments on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Following on from the two IPBES plenary sessions, which were held in Bonn and Antalya in 2013, the third plenary session will take further steps for implementing the ambitious work programme for the period 2014 to 2018. At the meeting procedural issues regarding the Platform's work will be addressed and a strategy for a the far-reaching involvement of stakeholders developed, for which Germany specifically has set up a German IPBES coordination office.