The road to establish IPBES


The IPBES establishment process arose from the bringing together of two separate but thematically-related initiatives – the International Mechanism Of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB) consultation (which finished in November 2007) and the various ongoing follow-up processes to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), including the growing number of sub-global assessment initiatives underway.

Click here for more information on the background of the IPBES process.


Gap Analysis

In order to advance the IPBES process, countries requested UNEP to carry out a “gap analysis” to analyze the efficiency of the existing mechanisms and identify the gaps. Click here to download the Gap Analysis report. This is one of the main documents for the negotiation on the establishment of IPBES. To access other documents, visit the official website of IPBES

The gap analysis identified 5 main needs for strengthening the science-policy interface:

  • Scientific independence
  • Knowledge generation
  • Knowledge assessment
  • Knowledge use
  • Capacity building


Intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder negotiating meetings on IPBES

Three meetings and regional consultations took place to negotiate the establishment of IPBES.

At the 1st Intergovernmental and Multistakeholder meeting on IPBES in Malaysia, in November 2008, there participants generally agreeded that there was a genuine need to strengthen the science-policy interface.

At the 2nd Intergovernmental and Multistakeholder meeting on IPBES in Nairobi, Kenya in October 2009, participants had in-depth discussion on the possible governance structure and the role of a potential new mechanism.

In preparation for the third IPBES meeting, UNEP organized regional consultative meetings:

  • In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), at the Forum of Environment Ministers of LAC, Panama, 26-30 April 2010.
  • In Africa, just before the SBSTTA meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, 7-8 May 2010.
  • In Eastern Europe, in Geneva, Switzerland, 25-26 May 2010.
  • In Central Asia in Almaty, Kazakhstan, 19-20 May 2010.
  • Permanent Representatives in New York, USA, 23 April 2010.
  • In North America, 27 April 2010.
  • Committee of Permanent Representatives in Nairobi, Kenya: IPBES was included as an agenda item at the CPR meeting, 4 April 2010.

Find more information on the outcomes of the regional consultations here.

The 3rd and final Intergovernmental and Multistakeholder meeting on IPBES was held in Busan, Republic of Korea, 7-11 June 2010. During this meeting, governments agreed to establish a new mechanism for strengthening and improving existing science-policy interfaces. The main issues negotiated at the 3rd meeting on IPBES included:

  • Do we need a new mechanism for strengthening the science-policy interface ?
  • If so, what should be the scope of IPBES?
  • What would be the key functions of IPBES?
  • What would be the legal basis and governance structure of IPBES?
  • What would the IPBES secretariat look like?
  • How would IPBES be funded?

The outcomes for the 3rd IPBES meeting are available here.


Considering modalities and arrangements to fully operationalize IPBES at the earliest opportunity

The 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, held in New York on Spetember 2010, has considered with key partners the modalities and arrangements to fully operationalize IPBES at the earliest opportunity.


26th session of the Governing Council/ Global Ministerial Environment Forum

The twenty-sixth session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum was held  on 21-24 February 2011, in Nairobi, Kenya. To download the proceedings, click here.


Roadmap to fully operationalize IPBES in 2012

UNEP is cooperating with UNESCO, FAO, UNDP and other organisations for a plenary meeting to fully operationalize IPBES. The first session of the plenary was held on 3-7 October 2011, in Nairobi, Kenya. The intersessional process included work in between sessions to prepare for the second session of the plenary. The second session of the plenary was held in Panama City, Panama, from 16-21 April 2012.

Outcomes of these meetings

Official meeting documents and reports:

IISD web coverage of the following meetings:


  • IPBES banner
Milestones of the IPBES negotiations

December 2013: 2nd Plenary Meeting of IPBES

January 2013: Inaugural 1st Plenary Meeting of IPBES

June 2012 - January 2013: Intersessional process

April 2012: IPBES officially established during the 2nd Plenary Session to Build IPBES

October 2011 - April 2012: Intersessional process

October 2011: 1st Plenary Session to Build IPBES
IUCN contribution to the meeting

February 2011: 26th session of the UNEP Governing Council

September 2010: 65th session of the UN General Assembly: Report on progress and possible establishment of IPBES

June 2010: 3rd intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder negotiating meeting on IPBES in Busan, Republic of Korea resulting in the Busan Outcome
IUCN report on the meeting

April - May 2010: Regional consultations on IPBES

October 2009: 2nd intergovernmental and multistakeholder negotiating meeting on IPBES in Nairobi
IUCN report on the meeting

February 2009: UNEP Governing Council: decision to convene a negotiating meeting on IPBES, and report on progress to the UN General Assembly

November 2008 - August 2009: Gap analysis prepared with review by governments and other organizations

November 2008: 1st Intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia

2005: Follow-up activities to the MA, including a growing number of sub-global assessments

2001-2005: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA)