German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Profile: IPBES

Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) established 2012


Membership is open to all members of the United Nations.

Aims and functions

IPBES aims to address the accelerating global loss of biodiversity and degradation of eco-system services by providing a sound basis of scientific information. IPBES also serves as an interface between the scientific community and policymakers.

The four main functions of IPBES are:

  • To identify and prioritise key scientific information needed for policymakers and to catalyse efforts to generate new knowledge;
  • To perform regular and timely assessments of knowledge on biodiversity and ecosys-tem services and their interlinkages;
  • To support policy formulation and implementation by identifying policy-relevant tools and methodologies;
  • To prioritise key capacity-building needs to improve the science-policy interface, and to provide and call for financial and other support for the highest-priority needs.


IPBES responds to requests for scientific information related to biodiversity and ecosystem services from governments, multilateral environmental agreements and United Nations bod-ies, as well as other relevant stakeholders. The issues to be covered are selected and priori-tised by the plenary of member states, the platform’s highest decision-making body.

To ensure credibility, IPBES uses and provides access to the best available science. Trans-parent methods are used for data analysis, and conclusions are drawn on an unbiased basis and subjected to transparent peer review to ensure that policy choices are presented and made available in understandable form.

The governance structure of IPBES is not yet finalised at the time of writing (May 2012), but various main points are already agreed:

  • The platform’s efficiency and effectiveness is to be independently reviewed and eval-uated on a periodic basis;
  • IPBES is to be established as an independent intergovernmental body administered by one or more existing United Nations organisations, agencies, funds or pro-grammes;
  • Decisions will be taken by the plenum;
  • The plenary is to be open to all members of the United Nations and regional eco-nomic integration organisations such as the EU (the status of the EU is as yet unde-cided);
  • Intergovernmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders are to participate in the plenary as observers;
  • Through its rules of procedure (yet to be determined as of May 2012), the plenary is in general to take decisions by consensus of government representatives;
  • The governing body is to be made up of regional representatives.

IPBES is to be financed through a trust fund established to receive voluntary contributions from governments, United Nations bodies, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), other intergovernmental organisations and other stakeholders such as the private sector and founda-tions.


The IPBES Secretariat is to be located in Bonn, Germany.

BfN activities

BfN has actively supported the process of establishing IPBES and Bonn’s application to be the location of the IPBES Secretariat.

Liaison at BfN: FG II 5.1, Dr. Horst Korn, Tel. +49 (0)38301 882758

Last Change: 14/05/2012