Project title

Supporting decision-making and building capacity through national ecosystem assessments

Implementing Institutions

  1. Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus)
  2. Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  3. Ministry of Environment, Government of Cambodia
  4. Network for Environment and Sustainable Development in Africa (NESDA), Cameroon
  5. Instituto Alexander von Humboldt, Colombia
  6. Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, Ethiopia
  7. Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI)
  8. Center for Biodiversity Conservation (CBC), Viet Nam


Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Ethiopia, Grenada. Viet Nam


This project will support national ecosystem assessment in five developing countries, and will address the second identified priority IPBES Capacity Building Need: “enhancing the capacity to undertake, use and improve national assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services”. The assessments will be collaborative processes involving relevant stakeholders in building an improved understanding of the role and value of biodiversity and ecosystem services across sectors. Lessons learned in each project country are also shared more widely.

Project Description

There is a perceived problem that national policy setting and decision making processes do not take full account of biodiversity and ecosystem services because of a lack of real understanding of their value, and inadequate tools for integrating knowledge about ecosystem services into policy setting and decision making. This problem persists despite commitments made at in international fora. As a result different sectors (such as agriculture, water and forestry) often do not fully understand and take account of the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services in achieving their own objectives, and risk undermining sustainability. National ecosystem assessment can deliver an evidence base that meets the needs of different sectors and encourages integration. Full stakeholder engagement in carrying out assessments builds understanding and trust in the outputs, and therefore a better outcome. Furthermore, the IPBES Plenary recognises that building capacity at a national level is vital to the successful delivery of the IPBES work programme. National ecosystem assessments give the opportunity to create an evidence based building on existing initiatives and to answer policy relevant questions a country may have. Work will be supported by inputs from assessment practitioners around the world, and will be closely associated with the work of the IPBES Task Force on Capacity Building and its technical support unit, and with the Sub-Global Assessment Network (a community of practice amongst assessment practitioners).

Project Objectives and expected Achievables


  1. Work with key stakeholders to establish the need for and use of a national ecosystem assessment in a number of countries
  2. Develop and implement a relevant national assessment process in each country, including establishment of national platforms as required
  3. Identify capacity needs and undertake relevant capacity building activities within each of the countries
  4. Develop and apply mechanisms for south-south learning and exchanging of ideas between countries, working with and augmenting existing mechanisms


a) An increased evidence base on the value and role of biodiversity and ecosystem services will lead to a better understanding of the importance of taking account of biodiversity and ecosystem services in policy development and decision making in all relevant sectors.

b) As a result of the assessment process there will be increased individual and institutional capacity to participate in ecosystem assessments at all levels, and to communicate and use the results of these assessments in policy development and decision making.

c) In addition, policy support tools developed during the assessment process will become more widely used in effective policy development and decision making in different sectors.

d) Meanwhile, experience and lessons learnt will be collected and shared through support networks, communities & south-south exchange, so that the experience of one country and region can be used to inform assessment practitioners and processes elsewhere.

e) Through these assessments, not only will policy development and decision making at the national level be informed, but the results will also be available to feed into IPBES assessments and deliverables, and also other assessment and reporting processes.


a) Completed national ecosystem assessment reports, including summaries for policymakers for all relevant sectors, and communication materials and processes for helping to promote and facilitate uptake of the assessment findings. (From WP1)

b) A number of policy support tools and methodologies developed, tested, and available for use by those developing policy and making decisions, and by those supporting them. (From WP2)

c) National platforms and stakeholder networks, providing communities of practice to support national ecosystem assessment processes, and the use of their findings (including development and use policy support tools and methodologies. (From WP3)

d) Support and guidance provided to national project teams, not only to ensure that existing experience and lessons learned from elsewhere are built upon, but also to promote and facilitate guidance materials and tools developed by IPBES and others.  (From WP4)

e) A series of case studies and lessons learned made available through relevant communities of practice such as the SGA Network, and support offered to other countries based on this experience so as to extend the impact of the project. (From WP5)

Planned activities

WP1: (a) Develop the scope of the national ecosystem assessments, through a multi-stakeholder process including specifying key questions to address, and identifying needs for technical support, data/information, and capacity building.

(b) Implement the national ecosystem assessments (utilising the IPBES Guide for Assessment and Catalogue of Assessments), including processes for selection of leaders and authors, drafting/review phases, summary/synthesis, including full stakeholder engagement as appropriate,

(c) Disseminate and use findings of the assessments, including planning communication/outreach, and working with relevant sectors. This includes dissemination of any further understanding of knowledge needs and gaps in capacity.

WP2: (d) Identify, develop, test and implement policy support tools (utilising the IPBES Guide and Catalogue of Policy Support Tools) to help integrate the findings of assessment into policy making and mainstreaming into relevant sectors.

WP3: (e) Identify and undertake specific country-level capacity building activities relevant to national circumstances that support implementation of assessments and policy support tools. This might include at the national level:

• national platforms and stakeholder networks

• communities of practice to share experience, including south-south exchange

• fellowship programmes for young professionals

• training and mentoring

WP4: (f) Establish a leadership group consisting of national, regional and International experts to assist in guiding the national assessments (with links to the IPBES Capacity Building Task Force and other relevant IPBES related work and expertise).

(g) Organise professional exchange visits in order to increase networks and experience:

• between countries focusing on knowledge exchange

• with organizations supporting IPBES deliverables

WP5: (h) Organise regional and/or global workshops to share experiences and lessons learned among project countries and with other interested countries, networks and processes9. Identify and communicate lessons learned on the assessment process and development of policy support tools, including development of case studies on:

• Different experiences with how elements of the assessment process were approached

• How and why different policy support tools were selected and implemented

(i) Develop other communication materials and methods for disseminating the experiences and lessons identified within the project (e.g. webinars, side events, short videos, professional exchange visits or training events, short brochures)

(j) Provide input into the IPBES Catalogue of Assessment and Catalogue of Policy Support Tools


> 3 years

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Project implementation

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Projects aligned with IPBES' work on capacity-building seeking support