German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Profile: IPBES

 Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

Brief description

IPBES is an intergovernmental body providing scientific policy advice on the condition and development of biodiversity and its ecosystem services, comparable to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC.


137 member states (as of February 2021)

In force since

Established: 21 April 2012


Plenary: Plenary is the term used for the General Assembly of all member states, which usually meets every one to two years. The plenary meetings are attended by representatives of the member states and obeservers. The decisions made by the plenary set the framework for action of IPBES. The seventh Assembly (IPBES-7) was held in Paris in April/May2019 and IPBES-8 will be held virtually in June 2021.

IPBES-Bureau: The IPBES Bureau brings together two representatives from each of the five UN regions. The main tasks of the IPBES Bureau are to prepare and chair the plenary meetings.

Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP): The MEP provides scientific support and advice to IPBES on the current work programme. Members are elected by the plenary for a two-year term.

Expert Groups and Task Forces: These temporary groups mainly prepare the IPBES reports and manage five cross-cutting tasks (Capacity Building, Indigenous and Local Knowledge, Knowledge and Data, Policy Insturuments and Methodologies, Scenarios and Modelling).

IPBES Secretariat: The IPBES Secretariat, based in Bonn, organizes and coordinates the implementation of IPBES's work programme. It also prepares the plenary meetings and receives work assignments from the plenary decisions.

Technical Support Units (TSU): The main task of the TSUs is to support the work on the cross-cutting tasks of the Task Forces and their members. The TSUs also provide scientific input themselves and are responsible for ensuring that the implementation of the work is inclusive, transparent and in line with IPBES rules and procedures.

In order to support the Task Forces and ongoing assessments, IPBES has established the following TSUs:

  • Technical support unit on capacity building (Trondheim, Norway)
  • Technical support unit on indigenous and local knowledge (UNESCO, France)
  • Technical support unit on knowledge and data (Paris, France and Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Technical support unit on policy support tools (Cambridge, United Kingdom)
  • Technical support unit on scenarios and models (The Hague, Netherlands)
  • Technical support unit for the assessment of invasive alien species (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Technical support unit for the assessment of the sustainable use of wild species (Paris and Montpellier, France)
  • Technical support unit for the assessment on values (Mexico City, Mexico)


The most important objective of IPBES is the analysis of scientifc knowledge on the status and development of global biodiversity and its ecosystem services as well as their preparation in form of summaries for policy-makers. This is achieved through the preparation and publication of thematic and methodological reports, so-called assessments.


Similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), IPBES's task is to identify and prioritise scientific knowledge and other relevant information, such as indigenous and local knowledge, for policy makers and to subsequently identify tools relevant for policy and methods to support the implementation of relevant measures.

IPBES mainly reviews data on biodiversity and ecosystem services and their interrelation. In the regularly published reports, this infomration is presented to the professional public in ad condensed form and identifies options for action for political decision-makers. IPBES cooperates closedly with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The well-recognized Global Assessment paints a dramatic picture of the condition of the planet's ecosystems. Wetlands are most affected by this development. In addition, 75 per cent of the land surface and 66 per cent of the oceans are heavily modified. Species extinction has also accelerated in recent years and is now at least dozens to hundreds of times greater compared to the average of the last ten million years.

This negative development is mainly due to anthropogenic climate change, changes in land use and increasing poluttion of the environment.

Activities/Role of BfN

BfN's collaborates in the further development and implementation of the IPBES work programme. BfN supports BMU, for example, in the review of draft reports and in the preparation of negotiating positions for the plenary meetings and is represented in the German delegation.

In addition, BFN works on a project basis, especially with the TSU on Capacity Building, and supports capacity development, especially in Eastern, Central and South-Eastern Europe and Central Asia. BfN also supports civiel society actors (e.g. IPLC) in their participation in the reports.

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Last Change: 01/03/2021