A new Global Assessment Report out today from IPBES explores global biodiversity and benefits that nature provides to people. The ocean is home to 50-80% of all life on Earth and provides essential resources like food and oxygen that we need to survive. Understanding the state of those resources and how those resources might be changing is crucial to long-term planning and environmental strategies. IPBES, the so-called "IPCC for Biodiversity," is a global science-policy forum tasked with providing the best available evidence to all decision-makers for people and nature. This landmark report compiles research from the past 50 years, evaluating how the environment has changed and what that might mean for future quality of life. The assessment can be used to inform management and policy decisions around the globe.
Deputy Director Elizabeth Selig played a key role creating the report, serving as the lead author on Chapter 3 of the assessment. The chapter investigates the role of nature and ecosystem services on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). "We focused on examining how the status and trends of nature and nature’s contributions to people are affecting our ability to achieve SDG targets. These trends impact much more than just the ‘biodiversity’ goals, SDG 14 (Life Below Water) and 15 (Life on Land), they also have relationships that can directly or indirectly impact the achievement of other SDG goals," said Selig.
This is the first global biodiversity assessment since 2005 and the first ever that is inter-governmental. The three-year process drew on nearly 15,000 references, including scientific papers and government information and also was the first global assessment ever to systematically examine and include indigenous and local knowledge, issues and priorities. This collaborative report is being discussed, finalized and considered for approval by representatives from 132 countries at the seventh session of the IPBES Plenary in Paris, France.
"The loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is already a global and generational threat to human well-being," said IPBES Chair Sir Robert Watson. "Protecting the invaluable contributions of nature to people will be the defining challenge of decades to come. Policies, efforts and actions - at every level - will only succeed, however, when based on the best knowledge and evidence. This is what the IPBES Global Assessment provides."