IPBES in a nutshell

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services (IPBES) was established in 2012 by 94 United Nations Member States. IPBES has four functions: 1) Deliver assessments on biodiversity and ecosystem services (global, regional, and thematic), 2) Catalyze efforts to generate new knowledge, 3) Identify and promote the development of policy instruments, and 4) Build capacity to enhance knowledge and skills of institutions and individuals to enable the development and use of IPBES products.

There are two main types of IPBES reports: global assessments and thematic reports. Global assessments present the state and trends of biodiversity and ecosystem services by analyzing scientific publications and local and indigenous knowledge. Thematic reports cover topics like pollination, land degradation and restoration. To date, 10 assessment reports have been published and 4 assessments are ongoing.

IPBES assessment process:

1) Request and scope

2) Expert evaluation

3) Approval and acceptance

4) Use of final assessment findings

Assessment findings are aimed at providing critical insights for better and more informed policy decisions and actions at all levels. An example of this is the uptake of findings of IPBES assessments in Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) negotiations and decisions.

IPBES Youth Workshop 2022

In September 2022, Ana Sofia Lorda was selected amongst applicants from around the globe to participate in the IPBES Youth Workshop. She represented the HCV Network, as well as Latin America.

Activists, scientists, and conservationists from over 15 countries came together in the beautiful Isle of Vilm from the 19 to 23 of October to learn more about IPBES and explore how participants and their networks can more actively contribute to IPBES’ mission.

The first day of the workshop was aimed at introducing participants to IPBES, its role in the global science-policy interface, as well as IPBES-approved and ongoing assessments. Participants got to know each other and learn from their professional and personal experiences through an ice-breaking exercise. In the afternoon, Jutta Stadler from the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) took participants for a tour around the Isle, where they learned about the island and its ecological and social relevance for local communities.

The Isle of Vilm is surrounded by the Baltic Sea and is one of the core areas of the Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve established in 1936.

On the second day, participants were introduced to the Nature Futures Framework (NFF) which is a tool to support the development of scenarios and models of desirable futures for people, nature, and Mother Earth. NFF considers three main ways of valuing nature: Nature for Nature, Nature for Society and Nature as Culture. Participants were asked to choose the one that they agree with the most. Based on that, four groups were created to discuss, analyze, and build together the different positive futures.

The third and last day was spent presenting the discussions from the previous day in a creative manner. Even though those three “pillars” (Nature for Nature, Nature for Society and Nature as Culture) valued nature differently, groups shared similar pathways to achieve those desirable futures, including transforming food systems, reinventing education and governance systems, and ensuring indigenous and local knowledge is at the forefront of decision-making processes.

Participants at the conference room discussing potential areas of collaboration.

Role of the HCV Approach and the HCV Network in achieving positive futures

The High Conservation Value (HCV) Approach is a tool that promotes better and more sustainable food and production systems by ensuring that social and environmental values are protected in agriculture, aquaculture and forestry.

By scaling up use of the HCV Approach and ensuring its robust implementation, the HCV Network, through its Members, can contribute to several pathways to achieve those desirable futures in three main ways:

1) Transforming food systems

2) Mainstreaming biodiversity in decision making processes, and

3) Strengthening capacity and education around biodiversity

Food, energy, and raw materials are being produced at the expense of nature and climate. This is undermining nature’s ability to provide humans with ecosystem goods and services. Transforming our food systems is key to reverse biodiversity loss and mitigate climate change.

Nature Positive Farming, a program designed by the HCV Network, can help promote best practices on land such as the implementation of agroforestry systems, and increasing the habitat quality and ecosystem connectivity to recover species that fulfill key ecological roles such as pollination, pest control and seed dispersal.

Conservation aquaculture is also emerging as an alternative to meet demand for food whilst minimizing impacts to biodiversity and promoting sustainable livelihoods. This includes investing and researching other ways of farming seafood (e.g. multi-trophic aquaculture) and experimenting and testing other species (e.g. sea cucumber, kelp).

The HCV Approach can also contribute to mainstreaming biodiversity in decision-making processes, whereby the voices and worldviews of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities are heard, and a broader set of nature’s values are integrated into political and economic decisions. The HCV Network is a collaborative platform where stakeholders from different regions work together to find a balance between protection of nature and meeting human needs.

Acknowledging and addressing the inequalities and differences between countries and people and their capacity to contribute to a positive future is also key in achieving transformative changes. The HCV Network, through its Members, can help bridge this gap by building capacity amongst local people to protect and manage biodiversity, and collaborate with other stakeholders to provide equal access to technology and education.

For more information, contact secretariat@hcvnetwork.org