The new Integovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has launched a series of thematic assessments aimed at informing decision makers on a range of pressing environmental issues, and a task force supporting the data and information needs of the platform.
The second plenary meeting of the Platform, held at Antalya, Turkey, approved the first IPBES work programme, covering the period 2014-18, with a total budget of $43.5m and a range of activities spanning the four functions of the new body: assessment, capacity building, knowledge generation and policy support tools. Details of the 'Antalya consensus' are available via the IPBES website and a press release.
Among the decisions of special relevance to the GBIF community is the setting up of an IPBES task force on knowledge and data, whose responsibilities will include:
Developing a data and information management plan that identifies the best means of addressing the data and information needs of the Platform's work programme;
Supporting the IPBES secretariat in overseeing the management of the data, information and knowledge used in developing IPBES products to ensure their long-term availability;
Identifying opportunities for increasing access to existing data, information and knowledge so as to ensure their availability to support the work of the the Platform;
Advising on data standards; and
Supporting IPBES bodies in reviewing knowledge needs and gaps, and catalysing the generation of new knowledge and data.
A call for nominations for membership of this task force, along with a second IPBES task force on capacity building, is expected to be issued shortly to IPBES member governments and to observer organizations, including GBIF. In submissions during consultations prior to the Antalya meeting, GBIF proposed playing a support role in the work of IPBES in areas such as data standards, best practices for mobilizing data, identifying relevant datasets for IPBES assessments and prioritizing data mobilization efforts based on gaps identified through IPBES.
In a statement to the plenary session at Antalya, the GBIF Secretariat noted: "We believe that a strategic partnership between IPBES and GBIF would help leverage twelve years of investment by governments in biodiversity data mobilization and access, and would ensure that the ambitious IPBES work programme can benefit from the best available data and information."
One of two fast-track assessments launched at the Antalya meeting will be on pollination and pollinators associated with food production. An initial scoping paper suggests that GBIF will be among the existing institutions providing information for this assessment, which will begin its work in the first quarter of 2014 with a call for nomination of experts.
Another assessment, on invasive alien species and their control, will begin detailed scoping later in 2014. The initial scoping document suggests this assessment will draw on the work of existing institutions and networks including the Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership (GIASIP), in which GBIF is playing a coordinating role on behalf of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
For more information, contact Tim Hirsch, GBIF Secretariat.