Developing capacity for undertaking national ecosystem assessments in IPBES

Between 13 and 15 June 2017, twenty-three participants from Cameroon, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Viet Nam, and a representative from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) attended the global inception and capacity-building meeting of the project “Developing capacity for undertaking national ecosystem assessments in IPBES”, that was held in Kribi, Cameroon.

Ipbes Cameroon Workshop

The workshop, which was organized by the SGA Network secretariat, brought together the national ecosystem assessment teams from the mentioned four countries, with the aim of introducing them to a variety of tools and data for undertaking their ecosystem assessments and be able to initiate their scoping exercise for their assessments. The participants represented both policy-makers and practitioners and came from a range of government departments, regional organisations, universities/research institutes, and NGOs.

The programme drew on the IPBES Guide for Assessments while focusing on the needs and priorities of each country. The workshop was run as a series of interactive sessions based upon the circumstances within the specific countries. SGA Network workbooks and exercises were used to work through steps in the ecosystem assessment process and apply guidance from the draft IPBES guide for assessments on how to undertake a national ecosystem assessment that would be consistent with the process and characteristics of an IPBES assessment. At the end of the workshop, the country teams were invited to present their findings to the rest of the audience.

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About the project 

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has highlighted that developing countries face issues in addressing pressing sustainable development questions due to a weak interface between science/traditional knowledge, policy and practice. It also highlights that they lack trained national-level experts and stakeholders to conduct national level biodiversity and ecosystems assessments and to integrate their findings into national policy, programmes and decision-making processes.

In this context, the United Nations Development Programme, through the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net), and the United Nations Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, through the SGA Network, are supporting countries to develop their national ecosystem assessments, with the financial support of the German government.