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We want you to know what is going on in the BOD, our meetings, our actions, members leaving, the new ones elected,... but text written in this blog cannot be taken an official position or statement of the Society for Conservation Biology. Probably it is not even an official statement of the section... as these need to be approved by the members.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Day 4 of the Plenary: tensions escalate

Negotiations at the IPBES Plenary divide into two parallel universes (“Contact Groups”). The first of the two (Work Programme) advances quite smoothly but gradually recognising that the initial hopes to see quick launching and completion of assessments, cannot be met. The slow pace starts forming into the decision to hold another plenary in 2014, forcing a necessary discussion about costs and budget.

I agree, costs are important to consider, and I am not talking about those for IPBES but those for the environment. Between speaking sustainability and implementing it there are not only the flights of hundreds of people, but also our stay at a 5-star hotel, which offers us several restaurants, an outrageously broad and rich buffet, and free drinks of all kinds. Chewing and listening to soothing Christmas songs (no, not that again!), I wonder how many tons of rubbish are produced by IPBES members alone, and what is the ecosystem fingerprint of its members.

Our hotel also seems to have about 16 swimming pools (rough count from the map). It does not matter as it’s too cold and windy outside (2-10C), and there is anyway no time for the indoor swimming pool, the spa etc. I personally decided to pay my own humble tribute to nature and took a morning swim at the sea. The water is warmer than outside – that’s Nature’s buffers for us - and from inside the water I could watch sunrise ahead of me and the Taurus mountains behind me, towering over the hotel surroundings to remind us that there is more to Earth than – well – this.   

While discussions of the assessments and costs are concluding quietly, Bege and Eszter attend a much more eventful debate at the other room, where the Rules of Procedures are heatedly debated (await the next blog for more!). The painstaking examination of words peaks when it comes to the actual rules that will govern the processes of IPBES in the future. Here, every mentioning of observers and stakeholders is [being][bracketed][discussed][approve or remove?]. Members fail to find a resolution into late night, and the delegates and observers shift, excitedly and upset, to exchange [over free drinks] at the Piano bar. Negotiations on Friday are anticipated (and planned!) to last into the very late night.

Guy Pe’er, Rixos SunGate Hotel, Turkey.

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