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Edited by Paulo A.L.D. Nunes, Pushpam Kumar and Tom Dedeurwaerdere
Chapter 28: Strengthening the science-policy interface: lessons from the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
The six-year process to establish an intergovernmental science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services came to a culmination when more than 90 countries agreed on 21 April 2012 to establish the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The growing recognition by the international community of the seriousness of the rapid change in biodiversity and ecosystem services and the impacts it will have on the well-being of present and future generations propelled countries to take this bold step (UNEP, 2012b). The complex nature of the issue at hand and the need for credible and independent science to inform policy-making at multiple levels were primary reasons for going ahead with the establishment of IPBES. Another reason for establishing IPBES was the recognition of the large number of biodiversity and ecosystem-services-related multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and the strong and urgent need for a common science-policy platform (UNEP, 2009b). The platform is expected to strengthen these MEAs by providing highly credible science in a periodic and timely manner for policymaking at multiple levels of governance. The platform is modeled after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) but with some distinct differences. First, unlike climate change, which is predominantly a global change phenomenon, biodiversity and ecosystem services changes are more place based and interactions happen at multiple scales. Second, the close link with human well-being makes transdisciplinary knowledge and multi-knowledge necessary conditions for all activities of IPBES.
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