IPBES publishes five reports on status of biodiversity
Biological diversity is in decline in all regions of the world. This alarming trend endangers not only the environment, but also our economies, food security and the quality of life of people everywhere. This was the conclusion drawn by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which convened in Medellín, Colombia to discuss the state of knowledge on global biodiversity last week.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "The IPBES reports are a wake up call for policy-makers the world over. Species extinction is not just a problem for environmental policy, it concerns all policy areas, also in Germany. Biological diversity is the basis of our lives. Though we are far from knowing everything about the causes of extinction, we do know enough today to be able to take countermeasures. One major cause is the use of pesticides in agriculture. This is why, among other things, we want to end the use of glyphosate in agriculture during this legislative period and generally move towards a more restricted use of pesticides."
According to IPBES, the main cause of biodiversity loss in Europe is the growing intensity of conventional agriculture and forestry practices. IPBES further stated that although Europe promotes agriculture revenues, it is at the cost of other services provided by nature such as pollination and soil formation. According to the platform, Europe consumes more natural resources than it can reproduce. In the European Union, 27 percent of species assessments and 66 percent of habitat types assessments showed an "unfavourable conservation status". 42 percent of terrestrial animal and plant species with known trends have declined considerably in population size in the last decade.
Following the first assessment report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production in 2016, IPBES has now published four regional assessment reports (the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Europe and Central Asia). Another assessment has been published on the topic of land degradation and restoration. These reports were prepared over three years by more than 550 leading international experts from over 100 different countries. The regional assessment report for Europe was compiled by a total of 120 scientists, including 12 from Germany. We thus now, for the first time, have reliable scientific findings, analyses and political recommendations for action for the entire planet. Together, these scientifically-founded reports are the most important expert contribution worldwide to current global and regional knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
IPBES is comparable to its older sister, IPCC, which is dedicated to climate change. The concept for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services was put forward in 2008 during the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Bonn under Germany's Presidency and was formally founded in Panama in 2012 by more than 100 governments. The IPBES headquarters is located in Bonn. Currently, 129 governments are members of IPBES. The platform also involves numerous NGOs and representatives of the private sector and scientific organisations in its work. With an annual budget of 8 million euros, the objective of IPBES is to critically assess the current state of knowledge and provide these assessments to policy-makers to enable them to choose better options. The Federal Environment Ministry supports the IPBES Secretariat with 1.5 million euros annually.