Experts launch two reports to address global biodiversity crisis
BONN, GERMANY––Governments met in Bonn during the ninth session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (#IPBES9). Experts and representatives of almost 140 countries conferred to advance the necessary scientific evidence in addressing the biodiversity crisis.
The week-long meeting was conducted to consider the approval of two major scientific reports on “Sustainable Use of Wild Species” and “Values and Valuation of Nature.” It was also the first in-person meeting of the global scientific body on biodiversity since the COVID-19 pandemic.
IPBES is the intergovernmental body that assesses the state of biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides to society in response to requests from decision-makers.
The last meeting of IPBES in Paris in 2019 saw the launch of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which rang the alarm on the extinction of a million species of plants and animals within decades.
As a result of the discussions that took place on 3-9 July 2022, Governments approved two new expert reports that build directly on the results of the Global Assessment Report released in 2019.
Sustainable use of wild species
Globally, 50,000 wild species meet the needs of billions of people according to the IPBES “Sustainable Use of Wild Species” Report launched on Friday, 8 July 2022.
The report elaborates on the status and trends in the use of wild species in the areas of food and feed, materials, medicine, energy, recreation, ceremony, as well as learning and decoration. It also addresses the finding that the exploitation of organisms is one of the most significant direct drivers of biodiversity loss.
A pool of experts, including decision-makers, scientists, practitioners, and indigenous and local knowledge holders analysed interconnected factors that drive the use of wild species to offer recommendations on the necessary elements, enabling conditions, and standards that need to be in place to ensure sustainability.
The release of the report may be advantageous for a region as rich in biodiversity as the ASEAN.
Dr. Saw Leng Guan, member of the IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP) and Research Fellow and former director at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia said that: “It is important that the ASEAN region can use such findings to ensure that the use of our wild species in the region is sustainable,” adding that the context and nuances of the ASEAN region may be very important at the local level.
Guan furthers that the ASEAN may take advantage of the findings of the global report by conducting a similar assessment for the region to better contextualise the region’s trends.
Nature’s diverse values
A wide diversity of values is ascribed by different people to nature. However, many of these values are neglected in policy decisions according to IPBES.
The “Values and Valuation of Nature” report which was launched on 11 July 2022 examines the diversity of worldviews about nature and the different conceptualisations of nature across cultures, disciplines, and decision-making contexts. The report highlights ways to embed diverse values and valuation methods into policymaking and the implications of doing so for transformative change towards sustainability and justice.
Opportunities and limitations presented in the report offer valuable insights into the anticipated adoption of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework set to happen towards the end of the year.
The report emphasises that nature’s values and valuation approaches can be leveraged not only in tackling the underlying drivers of the global biodiversity crisis but also in policies that consider future scenarios and sustainability pathways. It provides specific tools to understand and integrate the many values of nature into choices and actions.
In line with previous discussions within the ASEAN, the report sets the stage for the relevance of nature’s values and valuation in decision-making to address the biodiversity crisis. Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim, Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), pressed that the region’s biodiversity underpins the ASEAN’s economic prosperity.
“The ASEAN region regards nature as part of the solution to the challenges we face today. The region’s healthy biodiversity provides for the vital resources such as water, clean air, flood mitigation and food supply that we all need to survive and thrive. In this regard, the ASEAN, as a community, is a vital part of ensuring that nature, including its multiple values, is incorporated in the paradigm shift towards sustainable growth.”
Lim added that the ACB has been facilitating actions in the ASEAN towards building a good case for investing in nature and biodiversity-related actions.
“Cases and success stories in accounting for the diversity of nature’s values are abundant in the ASEAN. We look forward to supporting the Member States and working with development partners to foster impactful discussions that embed the diverse values of nature into policy decisions.”
IPBES members from the ASEAN––Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Viet Nam were joined by the ACB Delegation during the ninth session.