What is IPBES?

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is a mechanism proposed to further strengthen the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and add to the contribution of existing processes that aim at ensuring that decisions are made on the basis of the best available scientific information on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services. 

It was established in 2012 as an independent intergovernmental body open to all member countries of the United Nations. The members are committed to building IPBES as the leading intergovernmental body for assessing the state of the planet's biodiversity, its ecosystems and the essential services they provide to society.  

What is the science-policy interface?

Science-policy interfaces are social processes which encompass relations between scientists and other actors in the policy process, and which allow for exchanges, co-evolution, and joint construction of knowledge with the aim of enriching decision-making at different scales. This includes 2 main requirements:

  • that scientific information is relevant to policy demands and is formulated in a way that is accessible to policy and decision makers; and
  • that policy and decision makers take into account available scientific information in their deliberations and that they formulate their demands or questions in a way that are accessible for scientists to provide the relevant information.

Click here for a graphic showing the cycle of science-policy interface.


Why do we need IPBES?

There are already several mechanisms and processes at national, regional and global level that are designed to ensure that scientific information is considered when designing policies or making decisions (examples of this are technical bodies/panels under the environmental agreements or national research institutions attached to ministries, among many others). However, there is no global ongoing mechanism recognized by the scientific and policy communities, that pulls this information together, synthesizes and analyzes it for decision making in a range of policy fora.


  • IPBES banner
  • IPBES Engagement Network

    IPBES Engagement Network

    Photo: IUCN credits


Right side banner picture © Steve Maier