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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Short personal report from the 1st IPBES MEP and Bureau meeting

by András Báldi, SCB-ES President and IPBES MEP-member

These acronyms make non-involved people crazy, I know. So start with the beginning: IPBES is the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. MEP stands for Multidisciplinary Expert Panel, responsible for scientific and technical functions, the Bureau oversees the administrative functions of IPBES. The decisions, however, are in the hand of the Plenary (meeting of the Platform’s members).

After many years of preparation, IPBES was formally established January this year. SCB was involved into the process of the establishment via an ad hoc committee, lead by Bege Johnsson from the Europe Section Board. My active involvement to IPBES started after I have been elected as a member of the MEP. Although MEP members were elected based on the UN regions and were nominated by their country, MEP members represents their own expertise, nothing else. The short time and the length of the „to-do list” makes these months extremely vibrant. The MEP has to provide the following key documents – among some other – to the 2nd IPBES Plenary:
-       Work Programme – that is what IPBES would like to do in the next years;
-       Conceptual Framework – that is the theoretical background;
-       Stakeholder Engagement Strategy – on how to involve all stakeholders in a transparent way.

In short: the MEP should prepare to the Plenary all aspects to pave the way for IPBES. Extreme large work, but the MEP, with the Bureau and the excellent IPBES Interim Secretariat progressed a lot in the last weeks, including the „IPBES 1st Bureau and MEP meeting” held in Bergen, Norway, 2-6 June 2013, hosted generously by the Norwegian government. I attended the meeting, and would like to share few points.

AddTamar Pataridze MEP member from Georgia, and myself
(cruising in one of the beautiful Norwegian fjords) (photo:
Randy Thaman)
First, the meeting was successful, that is we achieved considerable progress in the documents, and in the planning of future steps. The revised documents are open now for review in the IPBES website. Second, the MEP and Bureau is really global, with representatives from e.g. Ghana, Zimbabwe, Iran and Guatemala, for example. SCB is a global society, however, we have far less diversity. Funding to involve more experts from developing countries is badly needed. This is true for SCB-Europe as well at the European scale. Third, in spite of the diversity of people, expertise and approaches to biodiversity and to ecosystem services, it was a nice company, and we had great time together. This was largely facilitated by the evening programs J.

There are many ongoing activities related to the IPBES. Here, I would like to mention two of them. In Europe, Leipzig will host a Pan-European stakeholder consultation conference to support the intersessional process of IPBES (16th to 18th of July, 2013).  There will be a consultation for the UN East European Region’s countries in Hungary. This was decided in Bergen, and now under preparation. 
Adem Bilgin Bureau member from Turkey
 and György Pataki ecological economist, MEP member from Hungary
Finally, the next months will be very busy, with workshops on the different knowledge systems (indigenous knowledge), on the conceptual framework, and the 2nd MEP and Bureau meeting in the end of August. Based on the comments received (see the IPBES website) and the outcome of the meetings, the documents will be finalised, and will be submitted to the second plenary meeting of the member countries. This, the second meeting of the Platform's Plenary (IPBES-2) will be held in Antalya, Turkey, from 9 - 14 December 2013, hosted by the Government of Turkey.

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