• Patrik Blanchon

Patrick Blanchard, IRD

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.


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.

Objective 1: Capacity & Knowledge Foundations

Strengthen the capacity and knowledge foundations of the science-policy interface to implement key functions of the Platform

The aim of the deliverables under this objective is to enable experts and institutions to contribute to and benefit from the science-policy interface processes under the Platform. It is expected that the Platform through this objective will establish enhanced human, institutional and technical capacities for an informed and effective implementation of Platform functions. It is also expected that the deliverables under the objective will enhance the interaction between different knowledge systems at and across different scales. The deliverables will furthermore improve access to, and the management of, existing knowledge and data and guide the generation of knowledge needed for policymaking and decision-making at various scales. These accomplishments will facilitate the implementation in particular of objectives 2 and 3.

Objective 1 will be achieved in an iterative and integrated manner and will be based on a networked approach pursued in collaboration with existing institutions and initiatives through the following deliverables:
Deliverable 1(a): Priority capacity-building-needs to implement the Platform’s work programme matched with resources through catalysing financial and in-kind support
Deliverable 1(b): Capacities needed to implement the Platform’s work programme developed
Deliverable 1(c): Procedures, approaches and participatory processes for working with indigenous and local knowledge systems
Deliverable 1(d): Priority knowledge and data needs for policymaking addressed through catalysing efforts to generate new knowledge and networking

Objective 2: Regional & Global Assessments

Strengthen the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services at and across subregional, regional and global levels

The aim of the deliverables under this objective is to assess the interactions between the living world and human society. The achievement of effective participation of developing countries in the processes of the Platform is central to the objective. It is expected that through this objective the Platform will accomplish an iterative strengthening of the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services across a polycentric set of interacting governance and knowledge systems at different scales. Consequently, it is also expected that the deliverables under this objective will support efforts for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity at the national and international levels. The deliverables will furthermore contribute to the identification of needs for capacity-building, knowledge and policy support tools and be an arena for the capacity-building activities called for under objective 1.

Objective 2 will be achieved through the following deliverables based on a bottom-up and stepwise approach:
Deliverable 2(a): Guide on production and integration of assessments from and across all scales
Deliverable 2(b): Regional/subregional assessments on biodiversity and ecosystem services
Deliverable 2(c): Global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services

Objective 3: Thematic & Methodological Issues

Strengthen the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services with regard to thematic and methodological issues

The aim of the deliverables under this objective is to implement the Platform’s mandates related to addressing relevant thematic issues at appropriate scales and new topics identified by science. The deliverables will also be focused on implementing the Platform’s mandate related to identifying policy-relevant tools and methodologies and, where necessary, to promoting and catalysing their further development. Given that, the deliverables are expected explicitly to support the formulation and implementation of policies for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The objective would furthermore contribute to the identification of needs for capacity, knowledge and policy support tools. The process for developing the deliverables would also constitute an arena for capacity-building activities and the knowledge and data management activities called for under objective 1.

Objective 3 will be achieved through the following deliverables:
Deliverable 3(a): Thematic assessment of pollinators, pollination and food production
Deliverable 3(b)(i): Thematic assessment on land degradation and restoration
Deliverable 3(b)(ii): Thematic assessment on invasive alien species and their control
Deliverable 3(b)(iii): Thematic assessment on sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity and strengthening capacities and tools
Deliverable 3(c): Policy support tools and methodologies for scenario analysis and modelling of biodiversity and ecosystem services based on a fast track assessment and a guide
Deliverable 3(d): Policy support tools and methodologies regarding the diverse conceptualization of values of biodiversity and nature’s benefits to people including ecosystem services

Objective 4: Communication & Evaluation

Communicate and evaluate Platform activities, deliverables and findings

The aim of the deliverables under this objective is to responds to the need for the Platform to engage relevant stakeholders in its work, to communicate its activities, deliverables and objectives to potential users and to evaluate its overall usefulness and relevance to a range of stakeholders. The deliverables under the objective will build on and support the deliverables under the other objectives.

The objective will be achieved through the following deliverables:

Deliverable 4(a): Catalogue of relevant assessments
Deliverable 4(b): Development of an information and data management plan
Deliverable 4(c): Catalogue of policy support tools and methodologies
Deliverable 4(d): Set of communication, outreach and engagement strategies, products and processes
Deliverable 4(e): Reviews of the effectiveness of guidance, procedures, methods and approaches to inform future development of the Platform

Structure and elements

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.