At its most recent meeting in Bonn, far-reaching decisions were made by IPBES on the focus of its work in the future. Under the new programme of work, more thematic assessments are to be carried out on biodiversity and ecosystem services. An ambitious timetable has been agreed on by participants for these assessments. In addition, stakeholders such as NGOs can now become involved in the platform's work.
This year's meeting in Bonn welcomed around 600 IPBES participants, who gave the green light to a series of thematic assessments. Similar to the IPCC, these assessments aim to provide political decision makers with reliable and independent information on the status and development of biological diversity and ecosystem services. Ecosystem services include, for instance, the pollination of fruit trees by bees, soil formation by soil organisms and the provision of foodstuffs.
Scientists from various fields and all corners of the world will be involved in the expert groups and will help draft the thematic assessments. A thematic assessment on pollinators, pollination and food production will be drawn up before the next plenary meeting in 2016. Another assessment on land degradation and restoration together with four regional thematic assessments (from Africa, America, Asia-Pacific and Europe and Central Asia) on biodiversity and ecosystem services are to be submitted by 2018. Further assessments on invasive alien species and on the sustainable utilisation of biodiversity are to be submitted in 2019. Once the series of assessments have been completed, in 2019, a global thematic assessment will be carried out, based on the results of the regional assessments, on biodiversity and ecosystem services. A regional assessment on the high seas is also planned.
A major success of the third IPBES plenary session is the decision to allow the comprehensive involvement of stakeholders. This means that, for instance, NGOs, scientists and scientific institutions can now officially participate in the work of the platform. The participation and involvement of these stakeholders will strengthen the credibility of IPBES.