Secretariat presents “greater coupling”-option for the assessments

[From the floors]

By Katrin Reuter, NeFo-Team


Katrin Reuter
Dr. Katrin Reuter
Museum für Naturkunde

The new option for the work program of IPBES 2015-2018/2019 which was presented at the third day of IPBES-3, was not the fifth option suggested by IUCN on Monday (implementation of the work programme as adopted in Antalya, but with much more efforts and in-kind support), but a merger of option 1 and option 4 presented on Monday [see blog: "Reduced workload and more integration? – The work programme of IPBES until 2018/2019"].

Whereas in the procedure as adopted at IPBES-2 (“option 1”) the thematic assessments have a global focus with regional examples, in the new proposed “greater coupling”-procedure the thematic assessments would have a regional focus with a global synthesis. Furthermore, the new procedure includes a common and not only a similar chapter structure and, according to the secretariat, would potentially result in improved analyses of interactions between drivers, impacts and responses. It was emphasized that the new proposal amounts to nearly the same costs and roughly the same number of authors, but the number of meetings would be much lower. In the new procedure, in opposition to a large number of small meetings, a small number of large meetings should be coordinated, which would reduce travel time for the participants and, furthermore, ease the work of the secretariat.

The greater coupling option was illustrated by the following graphic:



Options for Assessment Coupling discussed at IPBES-3
Options for Assessment Coupling discussed at IPBES-3
IPBES Secreteriat


The graphic shows when the different assessments should be conducted and how they are planned to be linked with each other. Besides the parallel process and interaction between the authors of the assessments, the establishment of a global coordination group is crucial for the linking of the different assessments. The global coordination group should ensure a stronger dialogue between the MEP and what is going on in the particular assessments. The group should consist of 15-20 people that meet the first time before any of the assessments takes place. Furthermore, the global coordination group should oversee that global aspects like the impacts of trade on biodiversity or issues related to the open oceans are addressed within the regional assessments and that there are experts that do the global issues within the thematic assessments. Besides the assumed higher degree of integration, one of the consequences of the new option would be a one year delay of the assessment on land degradation and restoration.

Taking into account the discussions of the first day, the proposed greater coupling procedure was developed during the night by the secretariat. After its presentation in the morning, many delegates had questions that were taken up after lunch. These questions included the issue of integration, the concern that global issues would not be addressed adequately, the challenge of achieving consistency between the assessments and how the assessments will inform each other, for example. During the discussion in the afternoon, the Chair agreed on that some points need further clarification, such as questions regarding the composition of the global coordination group, the inclusion of indigenous and local knowledge in the assessments or the links between the regional and the thematic assessments. Furthermore, the Chair emphasized that this is a unique process and that we are all learning by doing. So let´s hope that this uniqueness of IPBES will result in further fruitful discussions the next days and approvals in the end of the week that will really help preserve biodiversity.