Better Planning for Biodiversity: Key to SDG Success

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Bees Pollinate a Red Flower © Jeff Zehnder/ Shutterstock.com
Bees Pollinate a Red Flower
© Jeff Zehnder/ Shutterstock.com
29 August 2016

Two valuable summaries to enable better policy planning on biodiversity were released in print today by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES): on focusing on pollinators, pollination and food production, and the other on scenarios and models of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Each summary highlights key results of more than two years of work by expert authors from around the world. They presents a best-practice ‘toolkit’ of the scientific scenario and modelling approaches that can be used to decide on policies and actions by governments, the private sector and civil society, based on the full assessments that were released in February 2016.

The Summary for Policy Makers of the thematic assessment of Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production highlights a number of ways to effectively safeguard pollinator populations, at a time when a growing number of pollinator species worldwide are being driven toward extinction by diverse pressures, many of them human-made, threatening millions of livelihoods and hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of food supplies.

"In the context of the IPBES report on pollinators, pollination and food production, for the first time, science and indigenous knowledge have been brought together to assess an important biodiversity-dependent service - pollination - in support of food security and its contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNESCO is pleased to have contributed directly to this effort." said the Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova.

The ‘Summary for Policymakers of the Methodological Assessment of Scenarios & Models of Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services’ may be a mouthful – but it represents a major leap forward in ensuring that natural resources are properly harnessed and protected to ensure the success of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Biodiversity is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Dr. Anne Larigauderie, IPBES Executive Secretary. “Food, water, energy, poverty alleviation, equity and peace all depend on the health of our natural environment. For sustainable development to succeed, however, we must move away from piecemeal decision-making about biodiversity and the benefits of nature to people. Science should instead be used to anticipate change – such as the loss of habitats, invasive alien species and climate shifts – to reduce the negative impacts on people and to help us make use of important opportunities.”

The assessment of scenarios and models provides a new approach for helping policy makers evaluate the impacts of their decisions related to biodiversity and ecosystems services protection. The report describes how scenarios and models can help decision makers evaluate the future impacts of today's policies or management decisions. Examples include the use of scenarios and models to sustainably manage fisheries or to carry out land use planning that balances needs for development and biodiversity protection.  

IPBES was founded four years ago with 124 member states to form a crucial intersection between international scientific understanding and public policy making. the Platform operates under the auspices of four United Nations agencies: the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), UNESCO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).