March 4, 2016, by Suzanne McGowan

Nagu reports from the IPBES-4 congress


The Fourth Session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-4) was held 22-28 February 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Participants from over 120 countries attended the meeting, representing IPBES member and non-member governments, UN agencies and convention secretariats, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, academia, indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs), and stakeholder groups.

IPBES formed in 2012 is an intergovernmental body to bridge the gap between science and policy in the area of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The 4th Plenary meeting held in Kuala Lumpur last week was a success as the meeting approved the first assessments and summaries for policy makers (SPMs):

i) Thematic Assessment on Pollinators, Pollination, and Food Production; and

ii) Methodological Assessment on Scenarios and Models of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

IPBES-4 also adopted decisions on scoping reports for future assessments on:

i) global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services;

ii) methodological assessment on diverse conceptualization of multiple values of nature and its benefits; and

iii) thematic assessments on invasive alien species (IAS) and sustainable use.

The meeting also adopted decisions on a number of procedural and substantive issues, including:

i) the work programme 2014-2018 of the Platform; financial and budgetary arrangements;

ii) rules and procedures for the operation of the Platform;

iii) communication, stakeholder engagement and strategic partnerships;

iv) a draft set of procedures for working with indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) systems;

v) draft additional procedures to fill gaps in experts;

vi) draft terms of reference (ToRs) for the midterm and final reviews of the Platform; and

vii) ToRs for the further development of tools and methodologies regarding scenarios and models

K. Nagulendran (Nagu) from School of Geography had the opportunity to attend IPBES-4 and found the meetings useful to enable scisnce to influence policy space. He however noted that much capacity is needed from this Asia Pacific region in contributing and benefiting from the work of IPBES. This is where universities in Malaysia can play in role by participating in IPBES activities. The IPBES Secretariat from time to time calls for expert views on certain issues. For more information kindly visit:

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