GBIF ready to support new science-policy platform


The GBIF community has an important role to play in supporting the new Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), according to executive secretary Donald Hobern.

Hobern was speaking after the opening plenary meeting of IPBES which took place in Bonn from 21-26 January. The meeting put in place many of the administrative and staffing structures needed to implement its work (see final press release at

The GBIF Secretariat issued a briefing note before the Bonn meeting outlining the potential areas in which GBIF had a significant role to play in supporting the IPBES work programme, which will be drafted during 2013. Those areas included:

  • Identifying and prioritizing knowledge gaps;
  • Partnerships with long-term observation and monitoring programmes;
  • Addressing capacity building needs; and
  • Increasing access to data, information and knowledge.

Following the conclusion of the IPBES plenary, Hobern said: “With the structures and procedures of IPBES now in place, we look forward to discussing with GBIF Participants, stakeholders and partners how best we can collaborate constructively with the new platform.

“A key principle of IPBES is that it will work with existing initiatives on biodiversity, building on their work while avoiding duplication. I believe the GBIF infrastructure for biodiversity data access, built up over more than a decade, represents an important foundation upon which IPBES can now build."

During the consultations on the IPBES work programme in coming months, GBIF will work closely with a range of partners including a stakeholder group coordinated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Council for Scientific Understanding (ICSU); as well as with major data publishers to the GBIF network such as the Ocean Biogeographic Information Service (OBIS), operating under the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. Submissions to IPBES from OBIS, IUCN and other organizations can be downloaded at

For more information, please contact:

Tim Hirsch, GBIF Secretariat

Photo: Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, GBIF head of delegation for Ghana, takes his place as newly-elected Vice-Chair of the IPBES Bureau. Credit: IISD/ENB.

Publication date

  • February 9th, 2013

Last updated

  • October 23rd, 2015