IPBES5- International Women’s Day

As International Women’s Day is celebrated, we would like to draw special attention and gratitude toward the many brilliant female leaders, participants, and volunteers at IPBES5–especially our own Global Change Ecology students who have contributed so much to this conference.

IPBES Chair Sir Robert Walton released the following statement:
“The issue of gender is of paramount importance to IPBES, but we still have a long way to go to get balanced representation. I encourage all governments to nominate women to all IPBES structures and activities.”

While there clearly is a great deal of work remaining to better promote and elevate gender equality, one thing is certain: the work of IPBES would not be possible without the superb contributions and leadership of women.

The future is female!

This is what a scientist looks like! Marie-Isabell, Katherina, and Liz representing GCE at IPBES5 on International Women’s Day.

IPBES5, Day 3: Contact Group Meetings

The plenary has broken up into the various contact groups.


Group 1 has discussed issues of local and indigenous knowledge and the review of IPBES. Issues discussed include the scope of the review, who will conduct the review, budget considerations, and how the results of the review will be used.

Group 2, meanwhile, has discussed the pending assessments, the scope of the sustainable use of wild species scoping document and capacity building. Specific issues under consideration include which of the pending assessments should be prioritised and whether the pending assessments should be commenced—questions which garnered a great deal of debate and disagreement among member nations. As commencement of the pending assessments is very much dependent upon budget considerations, Group 2 will meet with the budget group today.


As the discussions within the contact groups are open negotiations, details of country positions and the issues discussed cannot be published on the blog.

Day 2: IPBES Branding and Review

Unfortunately, the plenary is still stuck on organizational matters.

For example, use of the IPBES acronym and logo by member countries and other organizations. Is the current policy of IPBES (approved at IPBES-4) too restrictive? Some see wider use of these as a potential risk to the credibility of the organization. On the other, many organizations working in partnership with the IPBES would be able to use the logo and acronym. Maybe, more use of the logo and acronym would give IPBES wider visibility.

The secretariat will be improving communication activities, including an update of the website. Many countries expressed the need for improvement of the website.

How well is IPBES doing its job? It’s time for the IPBES to be reviewed. Terms of reference for the review need to be decided. The plenary needs to decide on who will do the review. There are different options. IPBES will be reviewed by an external review panel but there will also be an internal review panel made up of members of the MEP, secretariat and Bureau. Who will  be involved in the external review and how will they be selected? Who will coordinate the review?

All of these issues need to be decided. The review is also restricted by budget considerations. Transparency of the review is highlighted by many countries as a critical issue. Also the timing of the review will be important as the outcomes need to be incorporated into the second Work Programme.

IPBES 5, Day 2: Should pending IPBES assessments be started?

In addition to the IPBES assessments currently underway, three assessments from the first Work Programme are still pending:

  1. A values assessment
  2. An assessment of invasive species
  3. An assessment of sustainable use of wild species.

Each of these assessments would cost approximately $1 million USD and take three years to complete.

Numerous countries, including Mexico, Colombia, and the Africa Group have stressed the critical importance of these new projects and their immediate implementation in 2017. However, not all countries agree on which thematic area should be prioritized. Several countries, including Japan, Sweden and China see the values assessment as being critical for direction of future policy. The Africa Group and the CITES secretariat highlighted the importance of the assessment of the sustainable use of wild species.

Other nations, however, noted the great limitations on financial and human resources, and argued that beginning the pending assessments before the current assessments have been completed would not be prudent or advisable. Among these countries were Germany, the United States, and New Zealand. Several countries also pointed out that it may be worthwhile to wait for the results of the regional assessments so that these can be used in scoping the pending assessments. Norway suggested that this may result in more targeted assessment and prevent duplication of work.


Contact groups on budget and the pending assessments will meet this afternoon. The assessments group will have to discuss whether any of the pending assessments should start–if so, which one and when. The two contact groups will also have to meet with one another to determine how any further assessments can be funded.

Owing to the diverse views on all of these issues, discussions are likely to be lively. The Chair Sir Robert Walton noted that parties should be polite and friendly with one another.

IPBES 5, Day 1: Getting Started

In kind, contributions of an estimated US$14 million dollars have been made to IPBES since 2014. This was in the form of time spent by experts on preparing the assessments. Nonetheless, IPBES is strapped for cash. There is not enough money for IPBES to continue with its current assessments. Members have been encouraged to provide extra financial support. A shortfall of up to US$3.4 million for the period up to 2019 was announced.


The pollination assessment has had a wide impact. It has been taken up by governments of member states, the FAO, the scientific community, and CBD among others. There is now a coalition of the willing on pollinators who are now acting to protect pollinators; collaborating, sharing information, providing funding for research etc. Other member states were invited to join this coalition of the willing.

Speakers emphasized the need to find synergies between work on climate change and biodiversity. Biodiversity will play a key role in both mitigation of emissions and adaptation to climate change. Country level integration of biodiversity into development and investment strategies and across sectors will be critical to achieving climate change goals and the SDGs – and time is short. We need to reduce emissions, increase resilience and have a long-term vision of stewardship for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Emphasis was placed on the need to strengthen partnerships across sectors. This will be key in the future as the traditional approach of dealing with biodiversity in isolation is not sufficient if goals e.g. Aichi targets are to be met.


Opening statements were made by speakers representing different regions. Most regions expressed enthusiasm and continued support for the IPBES. The USA, however, took a notably pessimistic tone. The United States representative regarded the goals and direction of IPBES as “overly ambitious”; emphasizing the need to focus on realistic goals based on the current budget, the USA stated that it would not support the start of any new assessments or activities unless others are eliminated.

The EU has requested enhanced observer states, similar to that which it maintains in the IPCC. This would enable active engagement in terms of right to speak and reply, and to provide financial support to IPBES. Although many countries supported this move, the Africa Group repeatedly expressed its opposition.

Stakeholder Day: Indigenous & Local Knowledge

During both broad plenary meetings and smaller, break-off group discussions, the importance of elevating and incorporating the knowledge and expertise of indigenous and local peoples was a reoccurring theme.

The incorporation of indigenous knowledge cannot be limited to late-stage discussions. Rather, successful implementation of the IPBES work programme must necessarily involve local and indigenous actors from the very beginning. This includes engaging with local communities to determine questions about what kind of research is valuable; these conversations can guide planning and prioritization. Showcasing the impact of issues relevant to biodiversity and ecosystem services on these communities is likewise stressed as essential. To enable these types of dialogue, local dialogue workshops were proposed.


The involvement of indigenous and local peoples in the mission and activities of IPBES is truly one of mutual benefits. All to often, the needs of these groups go unrecognized in strategy and policy planning. Equally problematic is the failure to recognize these groups’ unique skills and contribution regarding local habitats and ecosystems in the plans that will directly affect them. Local and indigenous people have demonstrated elite-level skills in such activities as mapping from which IPBES can greatly beneficial.

What is certain is that any effort to incorporate the skills and contributions of indigenous peoples must be conscious of the imbalance of our relationship with these people. Too often, such knowledge has been used without true consent or any respect for the intentions of the contributors. A peer-to-peer relationship–one of true collaboration, consent, listening, and learning–with indigenous people is needed to address these ethical concerns.


The political marginalization–both historical and present–of indigenous peoples has suppressed and inhibited the contribution of indigenous knowledge of ecosystem. Hopefully, the concentrated efforts of IPBES will allow the invaluable skills and offerings of these groups to be implemented into the work of promoting and protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services in a productive, respectful, and mutually beneficial manner.

Engaging Stakeholders at IPBES 5

“Biodiversity and ecosystem services are just as important as climate change!” This was the opening statement from the Chair of The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Sir Robert Watson at the Stakeholder Day at IPBES 5. A major goal of IPBESin the future is making people aware that biodiversity is both relevant and essential. But how will IPBES reach a wider audience including local communities and decision makers? These are just some of the challenges ahead.

Involving more actors, including local communities and indigenous people, in creating knowledge about biodiversity is a major focus. Opportunities and challenges for incorporating more stakeholders need to be identified.


Several potential solutions and strategic directions were raised. Innovation was highlighted, noting the goal of improving web usage, capabilities, and presence for the purpose of increasing accessibility. A broader web presence is intended to be implemented not only for IPBES, but likewise for IPCC. Thus, the external outreach and activities of these organizations can be complemented and expanded.


A question from the floor raised a specific problem within the broader issue stakeholder engagement: How can we improve communication with local—in particular, rural—communities. These communities directly affect land use and have been shown to create significant political upset when decision makers become perceived as elites.

Addressing this problem requires simple-level communication, which is especially difficult for the academic-types which largely make up the body of organizations like IPBES. While it was accepted that this type of communication is a persistently difficult task, early education in relevant issues was raised as a potential solution. As the popular movement for recycling demonstrated, directly involving children in environmental issues can have a trickle-up effect and yield parental involvement. This strategy may help to improve engagement with local community members.


“No more new assessments!”. There are currently six assessments underway: land degradation, global, and four regional assessments. Budget issues will limit the ability of IPBES to coordinate more assessments in the near future.

However, improving communication of assessment content is a consistent priority. Robert Spaull, head of IPBES communication, spoke at length about communication strategies–both broad and minutely technical.


Engaging traditional media was underscored as a goal with significant room for improvement; contact consolidation and collaboration are particular goals that are stressed within a 12 month media outreach plan that is underway. An emphasis on opinion pieces and the formation of regional communication and outreach networks likewise hold a prominent place within this strategy.

As is the case in almost every 21st century issue, the strategic role of social media was reinforced. It was here that the technical strategies were raised to better focus the social media outreach of IPBES—such as advising the use of a consistent hashtag (#IPBES5) for the current conference.

And, even more essential than a consistent hashtag, the issue of a consistent acronym pronunciation was addressed. Is the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services to be referred to as “I-P-B-E-S”? “I-P-bes”? Or perhaps the phonetic pronunciation, “Ip-bes”?


As Spaull concluded, phonetic pronunciations are memorable, and should be utilized when verbally possible. And so, the pronunciation “Ip-bes” was settled upon.

One small issue of IPBES successfully accomplished! Many more to go.

Stay focused

World Conference Center Bonn, a venerable venue for this event that links what has been achieved in Paris to what will be worked on in Marrakesh. Delegates negotiating about LULUCF (land use, land use change and climate) have a beautiful view on what they are to preserve: the chestnut trees outside in turn are gently wondering about how much the “summit of creation” inside the conference center can debate about WORDS. And while those having a political mandate struggle whether include or not “complete” into the text, the tranquilizing clicking sounds of the typing rest fills the room. Calm discussions are only structured by periodical sounds of incoming text messages.

Negotiating(Evolving) CDM-practices – PART 2…



CMP 11 agenda item 4

Issues relating to the clean development mechanism

9 December 2015

Guidance relating to the CDM for the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM EB);

  1. Requests the Executive Board to analyse the need for measures to ensure the continued participation of designated operational entities in the clean development mechanism, in particular in the regions underrepresented in the clean development mechanism, taking into account paragraph 28 below
  1. Decides to allow the submission of a request for the revision of a baseline and monitoring methodology without a draft project or programme design document in cases where the Executive Board considers that the assessment of such a request can be conducted without the project-specific information;
  1. Requests the Executive Board to implement paragraph 12 above by revising the relevant regulations;

  1. Requests the Executive Board to consider developing a standardized registration template using objective criteria for activities that qualify as automatically additional; see full documentCDM_CMP_11

(why  paragraphs get deformed,evolve or  deleted )

This dialog below concerns paragraph 11 and 12, but it happend throughout the document, 12 paragraphs were either deleted or changed reducing a 40 paragraphed document to 28 .

Comments that reshape agreements
Comments that reshape agreements

-Moses Duguru


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