The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) opened its 7th plenary session at UNESCO this morning. Topping its agenda, which will run from 29 April - 4 May, is the consideration by governments of the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – the first intergovernmental report of its kind and the most comprehensive analysis of nature since the landmark Millennium Ecosystem Assessment of 2005.
Addressing more than 800 delegates – including senior government representatives, scientific experts and stakeholders from more than 130 countries, at the opening, IPBES Chair Sir Robert Watson, spoke of the urgent need to take action. “The work of IPBES provides governments, the private sector and the public the evidence that loss of biodiversity, just like human-induced climate change, is not only an environmental issue, but a development, economic, security, social, moral and equity issue, and that continued loss of biodiversity will undermine the ability of most countries to achieve most of the sustainable development goals, in particular poverty reduction, food and water security, human health, and the overall goal of leaving nobody behind.”
Professor Watson also set the bar high for the delegates: “Therefore, if governments want to achieve the sustainable development goals, urgent action is needed to limit human-induced climate change and the loss of biodiversity. Addressing the loss of biodiversity can only be achieved through rapid and transformative actions everywhere in the world. […] The information contained in the global assessment will empower governments, the private sector and civil society to make better choices for informed action.”
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay welcomed the delegates, speaking on behalf of all four UN organizations (UNESCO, UNEP, FAO and UNDP) attending. “We, the United-Nations’ system, are determined to remain committed and to be facilitators of dialogue for the development of a global partnership for biodiversity following 2020. […] It is the urgency of the situation that brings us together today,” said Ms. Azoulay. She then went on to say, “the world report that we will unveil in a few days will force us to face this dramatic degradation of biodiversity and to share this evidence with society as a whole. Our local, indigenous and scientific knowledge is proving that we have solutions.”
Expected to be adopted by the #IPBES7 Plenary on Saturday, 4 May 2019, the report will then be launched at a global news conference on Monday, 6 May 2019 at 1 p.m. Paris time at UNESCO , Room IV (for other time zones click here: http://bit.ly/2GWDJ3X).
Watch the opening ceremony