New IPBES chair and new Bureau elected

[From the floors]

Malte Timpte – NeFo, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin - Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science

Bob Watson from UK succeeded Hamid Zakri as chair of IPBES at the last day of IPBES-4. Due to an agreement at IPBES-2, the co-chair of the WEOG region was the only nominee for that position and was elected by the member states at IPBES-4 after Prof. Zakri concluded his term with a moving speech. Member states, stakeholders and the new chair thanked Prof. Zakri for his outstanding commitment and wise leadership during the early years of this novel platform.


The new IPBES  Chair: Sir Robert T. Watson, UK (center) - Photo: MTimpte 2016
The new IPBES Chair: Sir Robert T. Watson, UK (center)
Malte Timpte

Sir Robert Tony Watson is Prof. at the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia and Director of Strategic Development at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He has served as vice-chair of IPBES for the last term and can look back on a long list of leading positions in the science-policy field. He was chairing the IPCC as well as the Global Environment Facility (GEF)’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, the United Nations Environment Programme/World Meteorological Organization (UNEP-WMO) and UNEP’s Global Biodiversity Assessment.
In his inaugural address, Robert (Bob) Watson highlighted the importance to engage stakeholders and indigenous and local knowledge holders in the IPBES process.

The IPBES Chair and the other members of the IPBES Bureau are chairing the IPBES plenary sessions and are responsible for the intersessional oversight of the platform’s work. They are nominated by the five UN regions. They are mandated by the IPBES plenary to take decisions on behalf of IPBES during the time between two annual plenary meetings.

The new Bureau is composed of 16 members: one Chair/Vice-Chair and one Bureau member per UN region and six alternates.  Seven of the new Bureau members have already served during the past term of the IPBES Bureau, i.e. for the past two years.
About half of the members are associated to ministries, the other half works for science organisations or universities. Compared to the previous Bureau, one more female candidate was elected. However, Eastern Europe remains the only region who nominated a female candidate as a vice chair, the other female bureau members being all alternates.

RoleNameGenderRegionGovernmentAffiliationCV on
Vice-ChairAlfred Apau Oteng Yeboah*MaleAfricaGhanaDepartment of Botany, University of GhanaCV Alfred Apau Oteng Yeboah*
Bureau MemberFundisile Goodman Mketeni*MaleAfricaSouth AfricaChief Executive Officer South African National ParksCV Fundisile Goodman Mketeni*
AlternateLarbi SbaïMaleAfricaMaroccoMinistry of Marine FisheriesCV Larbi Sbaï
Vice-ChairAsghar Mohammadi Fazel*MaleAsia PacificIran (Islamic Republic of)ECO Institute of Environmental Science and Technology-
Bureau MemberYoungbae SuhMaleAsia PacificRepublic of KoreaNatural Products Research Institute of Seoul National UniversityCV Youngbae Suh
AlternateRatna Kusuma SariFemaleAsia PacificIndonesiaMinistry of Environment and Forestry IndonesiaCV Ratna Kusuma Sari
AlternateZhiyun OuyangMaleAsia PacificChinaChinese Academy of SciencesCV Zhiyun Ouyang
Vice-chairSenka Barudanović*FemaleEastern EuropeanBosnia and HerzegovinaAssociate Professor, Faculty of Science, University of SarajevoCV Senka Barudanović*
Bureau MemberRashad AllahverdiyevMaleEastern EuropeanAzerbaijanMinistry of Ecology and Natural ResourcesCV Rashad Allahverdiyev
AlternateAdem Bilgin*MaleEastern EuropeanTurkeyDirector of Research Division Department of Biodiversity Ministry of Forest and Water Affairs-
Vice-chairSpencer Linus Thomas*MaleLatin American GovernmentGrenadaAmbassador and Special Envoy for Multilateral Environmental Agreements, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Environment and TradeCV Spencer Linus Thomas*
Bureau MemberDiego Pacheco BalanzaMaleLatin American GovernmentBolivia (Plurinational State of)Ministry of Planning for DevelopmentCV Diego Pacheco Balanza
AlternateCarmen Roldán ChacónFemaleLatin American GovernmentCosta RicaFondo Nacional para Financiamiento Forestal, Ministerio de Ambiente y EnergíaCV Carmen Roldán Chacón
AlternateLourdes Coya de la FuenteFemaleLatin American GovernmentCubaMinistry of Science, Technology and Environment-
Co-chair / IPBES ChairRobert T. Watson*MaleWestern European/Other GovernmentUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandDirector for Stategic Developmnent, Tyndall Center Department of Environmental Sciences, University of East AngliaCV Robert T. Watson*
Bureau MemberIvar Andreas Baste*MaleWestern European/Other GovernmentNorwayCo-chair and Director of the Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity and Senior Advisor, Norwegian Directorate for Nature ManagementCV Ivar Andreas Baste*




























*Second term in the Bureau