Daily report for 9 March 2017

Stakeholder Day and 5th Session of the IPBES Plenary

IPBES-5 met in two contact groups throughout the day and in the evening. A short plenary convened in the afternoon to review progress. The budget group met throughout the day.

Contact Group I considered: IPBES Review; development of the second work programme; and ILK. Contact Group II discussed: the scoping report for an assessment on the sustainable use of wild biodiversity; capacity building; and policy support tools and methodologies.


REVIEW OF THE PLATFORM AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE SECOND WORK PROGRAMME: Delegates considered IPBES/5/12, with discussions focusing on how the review of the platform can feed into the development of the second work programme. Many members supported an internal review. The US did not see an internal review as necessary. AUSTRALIA said the review should be completed before proceeding with new assessments. IPBES Chair Watson explained the internal review would complement, not substitute, an external review and observed support for an internal review, subject to reasonable costs.

On selecting the external review panel, members agreed that the Bureau, with input from the MEP, select the review panel. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA called for ensuring inclusion of IPLC representatives. The STAKEHOLDER NETWORK urged ensuring the external review’s independence, and the US its transparency.

On managing the internal review process, many suggested hiring an external consultant or organization. COLOMBIA noted agencies with auditing credentials may be affordable. Chair Watson said once the review’s TOR have been finalized, a call for organizations to manage the process would be released.

On the TOR for the review, COLOMBIA expressed concern that an early review would undermine its purpose to assess the first work programme. Members clarified that the review will evaluate, inter alia, the effectiveness of the implementation of the budgetary and financial arrangements, and of the processes of stakeholder engagement and communication.

On the methodology, delegates suggested allowing the review panel greater flexibility in its work and reporting.

In the afternoon, delegates considered a draft decision covering the review of the Platform and the development of the second work programme (IPBES/5/1/Add.2). The group agreed on referring to “a framework for a rolling work programme,” and to request the MEP and Bureau to draft initial elements, including, inter alia: potential structure; guidance on calls for requests; and preliminary cost estimates. On guidance for particular considerations in this task, such as timing, the group engaged in lengthy discussions, in particular on referencing the Paris Agreement, which the US and TURKEY opposed. Based on compromise text, they agreed to consider a 10-year horizon which would allow the second work programme to inform the evaluation of SDG implementation in 2030, “the Rio Conventions and ongoing processes related to biodiversity and ecosystem services.” GUATEMALA and MEXICO underscored that pending assessments and all deliverables agreed to in 2013 must be completed within the first work programme.

Delegates agreed to delete text on the timing of a second global assessment, and amending text so that the Plenary considers the number, type and timing of all possible thematic, methodological and spatial assessments.

Following additional clarifying amendments, delegates agreed to the draft decision pending the outcome of informal consultations on prioritizing outstanding deliverables from the first work programme and opportunities arising through strategic partnerships.

ILK SYSTEMS: In the afternoon, AUSTRALIA reported on informal consultations where delegates had agreed, among others, on the definition of “biocultural diversity.” Noting inconsistent use of “ILK Experts,” he said the EU IPBES MEMBERS proposed a footnote explaining the different terminologies. The US opposed text in the footnote stating “the term expert may refer to ILK holders,” saying it was too restrictive.

In the evening delegates considered the “overall proposed approach to recognizing and working with ILK.” They refined language by, inter alia: clarifying that “giving back” knowledge refers to a “sharing of knowledge”; providing examples of different forms of ILK; and referring to “appropriate” representation of ILK experts and experts on ILK in the expert groups.

The group also decided to introduce the principle of consent as an overarching element in the text. IIFB proposed: the approach should seek “free prior and informed consent for the use of any primary ILK,” and the activities should not occur where they would prejudice the recognized rights of indigenous peoples and interests of local communities. The US added a reference to “internationally” recognized rights of indigenous peoples and interests of local communities. EU IPBES MEMBERS, opposed by the US, proposed alternative wording, including a reference to “consent, following the voluntary Mo’otz Kuxtal Guidelines.” Discussions continued into the night.


SUSTAINABLE USE OF WILD BIODIVERSITY: Delegates continued addressing the scoping document on the assessment of the sustainable use of wild species (IPBES5/7). On relevant questions to decision makers, COSTA RICA proposed considering impacts on food safety and nutrition. On the coverage of the assessment, FRANCE suggested specific reference to marine systems. On addressing environmental aspects and implications of the use of wild species, SWITZERLAND proposed reference to past and current trends of the use of wild species.

BELGIUM inquired which criteria would determine the selection of wild species addressed. BRAZIL suggested reference to consumptive and non-consumptive uses, covering diverse situations and continents, and GERMANY proposed considering the species’ risk of extinction.

MEXICO suggested the assessment look at, inter alia, the status and trends of wild species traded and lessons learned to provide positive advice. SWEDEN suggested clarifying the relationship of the collective actions of IPLCs with the sustainable use of species.

COSTA RICA called for clarifying how proposed indicators relate to IPBES’ goals. MEXICO suggested looking at existing indicators in international instruments and data sets, such as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. FINLAND proposed language to address concerns on overlaps between assessments.

In the evening, the group engaged in a second reading of the scoping report for the assessment on sustainable use of wild species, discussing, among other issues: the definition of “wild species”; whether to refer to “benefits” or “contributions” of wild species; and whether to refer explicitly to consumptive and non-consumptive uses, with some highlighting the importance of the latter for local communities.

Discussions continued into the night.

CAPACITY BUILDING: Delegates considered the executive summary of the rolling plan for capacity building (IPBES/5/3 Annex) including: strategies; priorities and criteria for implementing strategies; and options for organizations wishing to contribute.

Delegates agreed to a US proposal to insert a section on the rolling plan’s approach to building collaboration and engagement not yet reflected in the executive summary. SWEDEN asked to reflect the need to collaborate with other capacity-building activities to ensure effective resource use, citing several examples. After discussion, delegates agreed to add two principles to a section on leveraging impact, “working collaboratively” and “using resources efficiently,” without providing examples. On the draft decision (IPBES/5/1.Add.2), delegates clarified that all governments and stakeholders can contribute to reviews, but only IPBES members and observers may participate in regional consultations to do so.

On a request to the Task Force on Capacity-Building to further enhance collaboration with other organizations for implementing the rolling plan, SWEDEN proposed that the Task Force “seriously, fairly and transparently” consider offers made by other partners. GRENADA and the US opposed, and delegates agreed, to Germany’s proposal to enhance collaboration “transparently” in implementing the rolling plan. On enhancing collaboration “including with BES-Net,” SOUTH AFRICA opposed citing examples. Delegates agreed to remove the reference.

Delegates discussed a request to the Bureau to consider, with the support of the Task Force, leveraging additional support, including by considering the need for a third meeting of the capacity-building forum. GERMANY supported considering a flexible, targeted and cost-efficient approach for the organization of future forum meetings. FRANCE, with GERMANY, proposed, and delegates agreed, to consider the need for another forum meeting at IPBES-6.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA suggested encouraging members to establish national review teams to take advantage of the rolling plan’s regional consultation meetings, to enhance their contributions to the finalization of the regional assessments. The US, supported by GERMANY, said internal developments should not be in the capacity-building decision. GRENADA preferred addressing this issue in decisions related to the regional assessments. COLOMBIA, with COSTA RICA, suggested, and delegates agreed, to references to national focal points.

POLICY TOOLS AND METHODOLOGIES: Delegates considered a draft decision contained in IPBES/5/1.Add.2. BELGIUM said the prototype catalogue of policy support tools and methodologies was supply driven, difficult to search, and too focused on European work, asking to expand its scope. Noting insufficient time to review the catalogue prior to IPBES-5, FRANCE, with BELGIUM, suggested conducting a review based on members’ submissions. COLOMBIA noted that the current decision replicates the decision taken at IPBES-4, and asked delegates to decide whether to extend the mandate of the expert group. Raising concerns that the expert group did not complete its work, she suggested recruiting a new one.

BELGIUM also suggested further developing the catalogue in collaboration with relevant initiatives and interested partners. Responding to a concern raised by France and the US about budget implications, Co-Chair Baste clarified that the expert group could be extended without budgeting for a physical meeting and “subject to availability of funds.”

In the evening, delegates agreed to forward the draft decision to plenary.


During a short afternoon plenary, the contact group chairs reported back on progress made. Budget Group Chair Spencer Thomas (Grenada) stressed that “the financing gap remains significant and immediate, which has impacts on the current activities and ongoing assessments, as well as significant implications for the future of the Platform.”


On the penultimate day of IPBES-5, delegates found themselves locked in by three constraints. There is no budget to complete pending assessments, so some members would like to push these deliverables to the second work programme. Some countries insist that the review of the Platform be completed before developing the second work programme. Other delegates maintain, however, that the first work programme be completed before initiating the review of the Platform. So, delegates were left wondering how to resolve this conundrum. Tensions were rising in Contact Group I as members expressed their concern that pending assessments may not be completed. After Chair Watson’s attempt to mitigate those fears were shut down, one participant suggested “we’ll need more advanced wizardry than this!”

Considering the gravity of the situation, some welcomed the suggestion to look for “creative financing” solutions, which could include strategic partnerships with organizations that have an interest in a specific assessment, and the resources to undertake it. For many, such new assessments should only be permitted if pending assessments have started. Shaking his head in disbelief, one participant stated: “In the grand view of things, we are only talking about pocket money...it is a bit shameful that more resources have not been mobilized for IPBES’ purpose.”

ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of IPBES-5 will be available on Monday, 13 March 2017, online at: http://enb.iisd.org/ipbes/ipbes5/

Further information