The Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published a scoping report for assessing the interlinkages among biodiversity, water, food, and health. The “nexus assessment” will facilitate informed decision making towards “viable policy options” in the context of the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
IPBES is an independent intergovernmental body established by countries to enhance the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being, and sustainable development.
The Multidisciplinary Expert Panel, which oversees all IPBES scientific and technical functions, will present the scoping report (IPBES/8/3) for consideration by the eighth session of the IPBES Plenary, taking place in virtual format from 14-24 June 2021.
The nexus assessment will explore “interlinkages and interdependencies among climate, water, food, energy and health through their relationship with biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people.” To allow for comprehensive consideration of synergies and trade-offs related to climate change, the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel proposes to include energy in the scope of the assessment. Recognizing the SDGs’ integration and indivisibility and the interlinkages among the Rio Conventions and other relevant multilateral agreements and international frameworks, the scoping report notes that the nexus approach will also enable assessment of the complementarity and trade-offs between these agreements and frameworks.
The assessment will specifically review the links between biodiversity and human health, including how infectious diseases emerge from the microbial diversity found in Nature and how human activities cause their spread. It will also examine how Nature provides natural medicines and drugs, and inspires synthetic products.
In its consideration of thresholds, feedbacks, and resilience in “nexus linkages,” as well as opportunities, synergies, and trade-offs between different response options, the assessment will highlight social, economic, and ecological impacts, using quantitative analyses where possible.
The assessment will incorporate terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems, and cover the past 50 years, along with current status and future projections up to 2050.
The assessment is intended for a broad range of stakeholders, including governments, multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), academic institutions, the private sector, civil society, and indigenous peoples and local communities. The assessment will enable science-based policymaking in the context of national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs), communicated under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and long-term strategies (LTS) under the Paris Agreement on climate change. It will also provide guidance on building resilience to pandemics based on the role biodiversity and restoration of ecosystem functions play in their prevention.
The scoping report proposes a chapter-by-chapter outline to frame the nexus and describe pathways to sustainable futures, puts forward a set of overarching questions for the assessment to address, and describes a methodological approach to be used in its production. It also contains information on data the assessments will draw from, capacity-building activities to support the development and uptake of the assessment, communication and outreach, and technical support. The report concludes by laying out the process and timetable for the production of the assessment.
The scoping of the assessment was informed by an online workshop on biodiversity and climate change, which the IPBES Bureau and Multidisciplinary Expert Panel co-convened with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 14-17 December 2021. The report will be made available in document IPBES/8/INF/20. The health-related aspects of the scoping were informed by the report on a virtual Platform Workshop on the links between biodiversity and pandemics (IPBES/8/INF/5), held online, from 27-31 July 2020. Information on the scoping process can be found in document IPBES/8/INF/4.
The publication is one of two scoping reports to be considered by the IPBES Plenary at its eighth session. An SDG Knowledge Hub story about the scoping report for a thematic assessment of the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and the determinants of transformative change is available here. [Publication: Scoping report on assessing the interlinkages among biodiversity, climate, water, food, energy and health (nexus assessment)] [IPBES8 Plenary] [ENB Coverage of Stakeholder Days and 8th Session of the IPBES Plenary]