Biodiv Sci ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (5): 681-688.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2015158

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Conceptual framework and operational model of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Cunzi Lan, Yu Tian*(), Jing Xu, Junsheng Li   

  1. Biodiversity Research Center, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012
  • Received:2015-06-09 Accepted:2015-07-16 Online:2015-09-20 Published:2015-10-12
  • Contact: Tian Yu


The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was officially established in April 2012 as an independent intergovernmental body, with the goal of strengthening the science-policy interface for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and social sustainable development. A conceptual framework for the IPBES, recommended by the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel, was accepted during the 2nd Session of platform’s Plenary, in order to promote cooperation across different disciplines, knowledge systems, and stakeholders. In this paper, IPBES conceptual framework is introduced, including the main elements and their linkages, and the operational conceptual model between science and policy of IPBES, as well as the linkages between IPBES, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB) and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), and the experiences learned from these previous actions. The conceptual framework captures six elements of the relationships between the natural world and humankind: nature; nature’s benefits to people; good quality of life; anthropogenic assets; direct drivers of change; institutions and governance systems and other indirect drivers of change. This framework indicates the interactions of 6 elements at different spatial and temporal scales and the focus for assessment and knowledge generation. The operational model of IPBES demonstrates the dynamics between science and policy through IPBES. A continuous flow of knowledge from science and other knowledge systems filters to the interface after screening the analytical conceptual framework, and decision-making is then impacted through the realization of the functions and the work program of IPBES. The prospects and potential impacts of the conceptual framework and operational model, as well as a proposed corresponding strategy for China are discussed. We argue that IPBES is going to become a platform for nations to communicate, play political game and maximize the benefits, the embracement of different disciplines and knowledge systems in the multi-scaled assessments of the IPBES will have significant impacts on policy guiding and supporting in international community. China should become more proactive in participating and play a constructive role in the IPBES process, in order to ensure the application of the scientific research from China in the assessment, as well as improve the biodiversity conservation in China by incorporating international experience.

Key words: biodiversity, ecosystem services, human wellbeing, science, policy, assessment