Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Review

Recently we reviewed the draft conceptual framework to guide the delivery of IPBES. The IPBES is the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services ( We recognise the challenges associated with developing this framework: while biodiversity and ecosystem services are all encompassing, they are poorly defined in theme, space, and time, and are inherently linked to society’s institutions and economy. We also acknowledge the importance of a conceptual framework for ensuring uptake and involvement of all key stakeholders of the IPBES. We applaud the expert working group who met in Bonn earlier this year for developing the draft conceptual framework and the attempt to capture the complexity inherent in the mandate for the IPBES. We also recognise the challenge of developing a conceptual framework that adds value to predecessors and that speaks to the four core functions of the IPBES .

Our review focused on three themes:

1.      Treatment of biodiversity: including definitions and relationship with ecosystem services

2.      Treatment of spatial and temporal scales

3.      Knowledge generation and decision making: including emphasis on how decisions are made and the importance of scenarios.

You can see the full content of our review here. We grouped our comments in relation to these themes, and attempted to clearly outline suggested actions to redress them. In some cases the three themes were interconnected. In an attempt to clarify our suggestions, we (well, mainly Liz!) developed a revisedschematic of the conceptual framework based on our comments (see below). We are looking forward to contributing to other intersessional activities of the IPBES – it was fun to gather our thoughts on how we conceptualise ecosystem services and biodiversity and the important role that imagining potential futures has in bridging the science-policy interface.