‘Steps for a change’ was the name of the opening performance on Monday. The 7th plenary of IPBES hopefully will be a huge step for conserving biodiversity in future. However, today it seems like everyone was taking just very small steps …
Tuesday was the first day when the IPBES plenary worked in two different working groups. One is dealing with the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the Global Assessment and the other one is on the external review of IPBES.
Within the working group on the SPM, the key messages were projected on screen. The leading authors presented the different paragraphs and the already included comments. After that, the delegates of the member states got the chance to propose changes such as of the specific wording, structure and clarity. Thereby, experts payed close attention on the technical possibility of the alteration. Thereafter, the delegates again had the chance to accept the sentences or to suggest further changes. Only if none of the delegates had any objections the paragraph was confirmed and it was possible to get on to the next one.
With 132 members states it seems natural that a lot of changes are proposed. Thus, it was very challenging to find a solution that everyone could agree on. Some negotiations seemed to run in circles and often got back to the original wording.
Nevertheless, it was really interesting to follow this process to get to know the different views of the member states. Although there is quite a lot of frustration about the slow progress, there is at the same time the hope for a report that really is a step for a change.
Cara Schulz is one of 36 student delegates at IPBES-7 of the master programme "Global Change Ecology" at University Bayreuth. The group is blogging on a daily basis at https://globalchangeecology.com/2019/04/28/gce-at-ipbes-7-latest-update-28-04-19/