Kept under tight wraps: news embargo for the Summaries for Policymakers

[From the floors]

Dr. Katja Heubach, NeFo, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung -UFZ und Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum Frankfurt (BiK-F)

You might wonder why we have been blogging and tweeting on several important discussions currently underway at IPBES-4, though not on the two "hot" topics of this year's plenary: the Summaries for Policymakers (SPMs) of the thematic assessment of pollinators, pollination and food production (deliverable 3a) and of the methodological assessment of scenarios and models of biodiversity and ecosystem services (deliverable 3c). Why is that? There is a news embargo for both SPMs until their final consideration by the plenary.

Keeping those documents confidential during the ongoing discussions is in line with the procedure regarding the review of the draft documents. Both the first and second order drafts of these documents were only accessible by registered experts and governments, with clear appeal to not further circulate them.

While this procedure created some confusion by both several observers and member states because they perceived it to cut down on the transparency of the process, the IPBES Bureau says it is necessary to avoid that draft content would be released which later would need to be taken back if member states would alter text. And, truly, in light of the ongoing, quite intense discussions on the 20 key messages of the pollination assessment this restraint appears to have been rather meaningful.

Insights from the floor to outsiders are not to be expected before Friday, as it now seems. We'll report immediately when results are released. In the meantime, you might follow all the other interesting issues currently debated which are on the record.