April 26, 2012
Governments from more than 90 countries have agreed to establish an independent panel of scientists to assess the very latest research on the state of the planet’s fragile ecosystems. The decision, which will create a body akin to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was made in Panama City this weekend, after years of negotiations.
The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) will be responsible for producing international scientific assessments on issues such as ocean acidification and pollination, to help policy-makers to tackle the global loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems.
“I hope that this body will allow biodiversity to be better taken into account in sustainable-development strategies, as the IPCC has for climate change over the past 20 years,” says Irina Bokova, director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), based in Paris.
The themes of the panel’s assessments, along with its overall budget, are to be decided at the newly established body’s first plenary meeting, which is scheduled for 2013. But the IPBES will begin work immediately on reviewing existing assessments — such as 2005’s global Millennium Ecosystem Assessment — to analyze their scope and impact on policy.
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