IPBES' first work programme

IPBES’ first work programme

The work programme of the Platform for the period 2014–2018 is designed to implement the goal, functions and operating principles of the Platform in a coherent and integrated manner. Analytical work initiated under the work programme will be guided by the Platform’s conceptual framework.

Being the first work programme, it is designed to put the Platform on the right path, firmly establishing its working modalities, deliverables, credibility, relevance, legitimacy and reputation, based on a collaborative approach and a high volume of in-kind contributions. It is intended to pave the way for the incremental strengthening of the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services across scales, sectors and knowledge systems.

This work programme comprises a sequenced set of objectives, deliverables, actions and milestones for advancing the four functions of the Platform at relevant scales. It is structured along four cross-cutting objectives. The objectives will be achieved through a set of measurable and interlinked deliverables that will be developed in accordance with the Platform’s operating principles and procedures. A summary of the rationale and utility of the objectives and deliverables and their interlinkages is presented in the figure below.

A summary of the rationale and utility of the objectives and deliverables and their interlinkages

The first work programme runs over five years from 2014 to 2018, with annual sessions of the Plenary.

The work programme takes into account the information compiled by the secretariat on earlier programme discussions, the relevant requests, inputs and suggestions put forward by governments, stakeholders and multilateral environmental agreements related to biodiversity and ecosystem services according to decision IPBES/1/3, the reports of regional consultations (see information documents of the second session of the Plenary) and review comments received.

Conceptual Framework

Structure and elements of the conceptual framework

The conceptual framework set out below is a highly simplified model of the complex interactions between the natural world and human societies. The model identifies the main elements, together with their interactions, that are most relevant to the Platform’s goal and should therefore be the focus for assessments and knowledge generation to inform policy and the required capacity-building.

The Platform’s conceptual framework includes six interlinked elements constituting a social-ecological system that operates at various scales in time and space: nature; nature’s benefits to people; anthropogenic assets; institutions and governance systems and other indirect drivers of change; direct drivers of change; and good quality of life.

These elements and their interrelations are further explained in the conceptual framework adopted by IPBES [hyperlink to decision IPBES-2/4] and in two scientific publications building on that decision [hyperlinks to the 2 publications]. Further, a set of e-learning modules [hyperlink to separate site for the modules] explaining the conceptual framework has been developed Sub-Global Assessment Network (SGAN) [hyperlink to SGAN], a strategic partner of IPBES.

Rationale for a conceptual framework for the Platform

The Plenary requested the development of a conceptual framework to give cohesion to the objective, functions and relevant operating principles of the Platform and the relationship among them. Such conceptual framework needed to provide an integrated view of the biodiversity knowledge–policy interface, stimulate new thinking, accommodate diverse human attitudes to biodiversity, and at the same time be as simple as possible to be effective and useful for the diverse array of stakeholders. The conceptual framework adopted by IPBES rises to this challenge [hyperlink to decision IPBES-2/4].

The conceptual framework for biodiversity and ecosystems services is to support the analytical work of the Platform, to guide the development, implementation and evolution of its work programme, and to catalyse a positive transformation in the elements and interlinkages that are the causes of detrimental changes in biodiversity and ecosystems and subsequent loss of their benefits to present and future generations. This conceptual and analytical tool is to underpin all IPBES functions and provide structure and comparability to the syntheses that IPBES will produce at different spatial scales, on different themes, and in different regions.

Salient innovative aspects of the conceptual framework are its transparent and participatory construction process and its explicit consideration of diverse scientific disciplines, stakeholders, and knowledge systems, including indigenous and local knowledge. In this sense, the conceptual framework is a tool for the achievement of a shared working understanding across different disciplines, knowledge systems and stakeholders that are expected to be active participants in the Platform, and is intended to be a basic common ground, general and inclusive, for coordinated action towards the achievement of the ultimate goal of the Platform.