Last week I was in SESYNC in Annapolis, Maryland, for a workshop organized by the USGS and DIVERSITAS as part of the process of establishing IPBES, the intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The idea of IPBES is to perform a similar role to the IPCC (intergovernmental panel on climate change), with regular assessments of the state of things as well as projections of policy impact. The four functions of IPBES are assessments, knowledge generation, capacity building and bringing forward tools and methods to policy-makers. So it has a broader scope than the IPCC, and has a lot of potential for aiding better management and policies for biodiversity and the services it provides.

The workshop comprised researchers, policy people and those who try to integrate the two. It was very interesting and I think successful in analyzing the ‘knowledge generation’ function of IPBES, which aims to catalyze the research community to fill the (many!) gaps in knowledge needed for assessments. Developing models to project forward the potential impacts of alternative policies and management options is going to be key, and an interesting and important space to be working in. Hopefully our (much rejected) manuscript on the importance of projecting forwards the potential impacts of global policies, such as CBD targets, will be more palatable to reviewers in this context, as will be support for this kind of work.

I also saw North American river otters swimming around in the harbour while I was having a beer with Brendan Wintle and Heather Tallis – my type of critter-watching!


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