Representatives from more than 100 states have agreed on first steps towards a Global Biodiversity Council at a conference in Malaysia’s administrative capital, Putrajaya. The establishment of the Council will be preceded by an analysis of which areas show a particular need for scientific advice.
About six months after the decision taken at the UN Conference on Biodiversity in Bonn to create a body for the field of biodiversity that is comparable to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the first official government consultations for the establishment of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES, were held in Malaysia. The three-day meeting took place upon the invitation of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and was financially supported by Germany.
Germany, which currently holds the Presidency of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), was represented at the conference by Mr. Jochen Flasbarth, the Director-General for Nature Conservation at the Federal Environment Ministry. "We urgently need usable scientific advice for policy-makers that the international community cannot ignore in order to stop the destruction and overexploitation of biological diversity", Director-General Flasbarth stated.
During the first round of negotiations of the more than 100 government representatives in Malaysia there was a general consensus that the new advisory body should be established. Moreover, it was largely agreed that the body should be politically independent, but that the results should be communicated to governments in some form that remains to be determined. "Our goal has to be to give the scientific findings a certain binding character for political implementation", Jochen Flasbarth said.
In a next step, the Environment Ministers will discuss the issue at the next meeting of the UNEP Governing Council in February 2009 and set the course for further consultations at staff level. "We made remarkably good progress in this first round of government talks. If we keep up this speed, chances are good that the new body of scientists will even be able to take up its work by 2010 and thus during the German CBD Presidency. When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established 20 years ago, this did not happen overnight, either", Director-General Flasbarth commented.