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22 October 2020

2020 WIN WIN Award Ceremony: Remarks by IPBES Chair and Executive Secretary


Remarks by IPBES Chair Ana María Hernández and IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie at 2020 WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Award Ceremony


IPBES Chair Ana María Hernández:

"Excellencies, Members of the selection committee for the Win-Win Gothenburg Sustainability AwardColleagues and friends. 

I would like, in my capacity as Chair of IPBES, to warmly thank the selection committee, on behalf of the whole IPBES community, for this prize.

Anne and I are very sad to not be able to be with you in person, but very fortunate that our dear colleague, Prof. Marie Stenseke, who is from Gothenburg, can receive this recognition on behalf of IPBES.

IPBES accepts this prize with great pride, but also with humility.

Pride, because the large and diverse community of people, from all regions of the world, contributing to IPBES will themselves be proud about this award, seeing their immense efforts recognized and being greatly encouraged by it.

This includes the thousands of IPBES scientists but also the indigenous peoples and local communities who have freely contributed their time, expertise, knowledge and ideas to produce 8 major IPBES reports over the past 5 years.

This also includes the Bureau and the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel, co-chaired by Prof. Stenseke, who constitute the governance of IPBES.

This further includes the 137 Governments that are the members of IPBES, which request the reports, are involved in their production, and work on implementing their findings.

This finally includes all the other stakeholders, including scientific institutions, conservation organizations, business and industry as well as other stakeholders, who also participate in the work of IPBES.

This entire IPBES community is assembled around the powerful idea that science and knowledge are more important than ever to inform action, at a time when science is increasingly criticized and evidence is denied. This is what IPBES is about: Science and knowledge for biodiversity policy and action.

But IPBES also accepts this prize with humility because, as a community, we are deeply aware of the efforts that still need to be undertaken by Governments and everyone else, to reverse the negative trends regarding biodiversity, which the IPBES reports have highlighted.

IPBES has worked tirelessly toward this end, since it was established by Governments in 2012.

In 2016, it produced its first report on the state of pollinators and its impact on food production. This was followed by a series of 7 reports, culminating last year, in 2019, with the release of the Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. That report was produced by about 500 scientists who worked over three years and analyzed 15,000 scientific publications. The IPBES Global Assessment generated an unprecedented level of global awareness about the issue of biodiversity loss and continues to inform policies and action around the world – as well as the on-going work of the Convention on Biological Diversity as it prepares for an important meeting, COP 15 next year. As Anne Larigauderie will now explain, the reports of IPBES describe the problems of the loss of biodiversity, but they also provide options for action by everyone.

I thank you all again for this great honor and give the floor to the Executive Secretary of IPBES, Anne Larigauderie."



IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie:

“Excellencies, Colleagues and friends.

Let me join Ana Maria in thanking you for the honor bestowed on IPBES through the Win Win Gothenburg Sustainability Award, and in expressing my happiness and pride in receiving this award.

The Global Assessment report of IPBES, co-chaired by Profs. Sandra Diaz, Eduardo Brondizio, and Josef Settele, is the landmark report of IPBES and the culmination of our first work programme.

Let me share 5 of its key conclusions with you.

1st, the Global assessment found that nature is being degraded at a scale and rate unprecedented in human history

      • 3/4 of the land surface has been significantly altered; 85% of wetlands have been lost; only 3% of ocean area can still be viewed as wilderness
      • 1 M plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction out of 8 million (this includes domesticated species of mammals and crops- climate change/food security)

2nd, the Global Assessment identified 5 direct drivers of this loss of nature, and ranked them in order of importance: 1-land- and sea-use change (e.g. urban sprawl), 2-overexploitation of resources (e.g. overfishing), 3- climate change, 4-pollution, and 5-invasive alien species. The Global Assessment also identified a number of indirect drivers of loss, which relate to our economies, institutions and governance, and are anchored in our behaviors and values.

3rd, the Global Assessment found that almost all the contributions that people derive from Nature have declined over the past 50 years:

      • This includes a reduction in all the regulating contributions (e.g., regulation of climate, filtration of water, pollination, flood mitigation, disease control, climate change mitigation and adaptation, soil fertility, and also in our non-material contributions such as the well-being and sense of identity we derive from Nature.
      • The only increase is in the material contributions (such as food and feed, materials and medicines)

4th the Global Assessment concluded that none of the 20 Aichi biodiversity targets for 2020 will be reached at the global level.

5th, and importantly, the Global Assessment concluded that it is not too late, and that solutions exist. Governments and others need to make a number of transformative changes, including:

    1. Toward sustainable agriculture (using less pesticides, scaling up agroecology; protecting genetic diversity; promoting pollinators)
    2. Toward sustainable food systems: enabling sustainable and healthier diets, with an emphasis on a diversity of foods, mostly plant-based; and a more moderate consumption of meat and fish, as well as a reduction in waste.  
    3. Toward sustainable fisheries
    4. Toward greener cities, which make space for nature; this includes greener transportation
    5. Toward the better protection of our climate, through inter alia better forest management (employing nature-based solutions)

As mentioned earlier, the Global Assessment of IPBES has resulted in an unprecedented level of awareness about biodiversity worldwide and mobilized new actors:

  • The private sector is now embracing the issue of biodiversity. The World Economic Forum in Davos recognized for the 1st time biodiversity as one of the top 5 risks to business.
  • Cities are coming up with biodiversity plans.
  • Citizens and youth especially are becoming agents of change.

We are at a historic moment for biodiversity: COP 15 of the CBD next year is expected to approve a new biodiversity framework for the period from now to 2030. This framework will be largely informed by the evidence and options presented in the Global Assessment of IPBES, and thus has every potential for solid scientific foundations.

But, as for climate change, what will ultimately matter for biodiversity, beyond the approval of an ambitious pos- 2020 plan for biodiversity, is the strong political will to implement such a framework.

What is really needed is a transformative change of our society, of our values, of our behaviors, toward a greater appreciation and valuation of nature and of its many contributions to people.

It is this vision that the Win Win Gothenburg Sustainability Award recognized and is celebrating today.

I thank all once again for this tremendous honor.”


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