Even more coupling

[From the floors]

By Katrin Reuter, NeFo-Team

On Friday afternoon, a new graphic for the further revised coupling of the work programme was presented. The graphic is quite clear about the suggested timeline and the deliverables. According to the graphic, in 2015 the scoping for the thematic assessments on sustainable use and invasive alien species should take place and the regional assessments get started. Together with the regional assessments, regional thematic assessments on land degradation are planned to be carried out. In preparation for these regional thematic assessments, the lead authors and the coordinating lead authors who are regional or thematic experts on land degradation should meet.

The expected outputs for IPBES-4 in early 2016 would be the scoping reports for the two thematic assessments on sustainable use and invasive alien species and the acceptance of the pollinator and scenarios assessment. The acceptance of the regional assessments and the approval of the summary for policy makers (SPM) as well as the adoption of the land degradation assessment and the respective SPMs are planned to be approved at IPBES-6 in 2018. The regional thematic assessments on invasive alien species and sustainable use are planned to be carried out in the end of 2016 and early 2017 and then continued and terminated in 2018. The acceptance of the thematic assessments on sustainable use and invasive alien species is accordingly planned for IPBES-7 in 2019. Furthermore, for 2018 the global synthesis is planned, which has to be accepted in mid-2019 to timely fit with the CBD process.

The new coupling option leads to all the deliverables agreed on in Antalya, but with delay. The advantages seen in this revised coupling option are the already in the former coupling option highlighted savings of time, the reduced workload and that it respects the scoping procedure agreed on at IPBES-2 in Antalya (which was not the case in the coupling option presented in the beginning of the week). Nevertheless, the delegates stayed critical. Questions what happens when the scopings do not take place in time and how to provide the necessary expertise to the authors and expert groups were raised, for example. Furthermore, it was mentioned again that the inclusion of indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) is an issue of capacity building, which has to be given the legitimate time and budget. Several countries uttered their concern about the delay of the assessments and supported to start the work soon, whereas others were not convinced that all documents have to be finished in 2019 (and accordingly, in timeline with the CBD process). Another question that might be interesting is whether coupling and more integration indeed reduce workload when high quality should be a key criterion for the assessments. As we know from inter- and transdisciplinary work, such processes often take more time. Nevertheless, they are often more fruitful as well.