The region’s rich biodiversity and its benefits to people provide essential contributions to the economy, livelihoods, the quality of life and the eradication of poverty. The region is also bioculturally diverse, with traditional knowledge of indigenous people and local communities promoting, among other things, the diversification and conservation of many varieties of cultivated plants and domestic animals that are the staple foods of many other regions of the world. The region has successful experiences in biodiversity conservation, restoration and sustainable use, including some carried out by indigenous people and local communities. On the other hand, climate change, population growth and the consequent increase in demand for food, biomass and energy continue to have a serious impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services and functions. These impacts are felt not only in terrestrial ecosystems, but also in wetlands, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems. In some areas of the Americas, the degree of these impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services and functions is threatening the economy, livelihoods and quality of life.

Within the scope outlined in the generic scoping report (decision IPBES-3/1, annex III), the objective of this assessment will consider these effects, as well as future threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services and their benefits for a good quality of life in the Americas and its subregions (North America, Mesoamerica, the Caribbean and South America), taking into account their differences and the multiple types of social and economic inequality and distinctive biophysical conditions. Key processes, including urbanization and deruralization, natural resource exploitation, pollution, climate change, loss and degradation of natural habitats (terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine) in the subregions, and their impact on biodiversity, as well as the benefits of biodiversity and ecosystem services and functions for people and quality of life, will be taken into account in the assessment of the Americas. The purpose is to make policy-relevant knowledge accessible and useful, using a multidisciplinary and multi-knowledge systems approach, and improving the science-policy interface aiming to improve governance towards sustainable uses of biodiversity and ecosystem services and functions. The assessment will also identify the specific needs of each of the America’s subregions regarding support tools at different scales, knowledge gaps and capacity-building needs, including the development of capacity for future sustainable uses of biodiversity.

For the purpose of this assessment, the Americas extend from the Arctic region in the north to the sub-Antarctic region in the south, crossing the equator. There are many ways to subdivide this large region, but for the scope of this regional assessment it has been divided into four subregions: North America, Mesoamerica, the Caribbean and South America:

Subregions

Countries

North America

Canada and United States of America

Mesoamerica

Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama

Caribbean

Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic,a Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

South America

Argentina, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana,a Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

a. On socioeconomic, cultural and historical grounds, the Dominican Republic could be considered part of Mesoamerica, and Guyana part of the Caribbean.