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First global biodiversity assessment since 2005

April 23, 2019

The first global biodiversity assessment in 14 years is to be discussed next week. "The loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is already a global and generational threat to human well-being," scientists say.

Papua Ölpalmen Abholzung
Image: Aidenvironment

Prepared by 150 leading international experts from 50 countries, balancing representation from the natural and social sciences, with additional contributions from a further 250 experts, the Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is to be presented to representatives of 132 governments in Paris next week. 

An approved version of the Summary for Policymakers is expected to be released to media under strict embargo on Saturday, May 4.

According to some reports, up to a million species face extinction due to human influence, which has undermined the natural resources on which all life depends.

The report will offer an integrated overview of where the world stands in relation to key international goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Setting priorities

Prepared by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in Bonn, the report will be discussed, finalized and considered for approval at the five-day meeting to be held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. 

IPBES chair, environmental scientist Robert Watson of the University of East Anglia in the UK said: "The loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is already a global and generational threat to human well-being. Protecting the invaluable contributions of nature to people will be the defining challenge of decades to come."

Three years in development, at a total cost of more than $2.4 million (€2.1 million), the IPBES Global Assessment draws on nearly 15,000 references, including scientific papers and government information. It is also the first global assessment ever to systematically examine and include indigenous and local knowledge, issues and priorities.

IPBES is the global science-policy forum providing evidence to all decision-makers for people and nature.

jm/law (AFP)

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