Press release

Biodiversity: new global scientific body welcomed

The UK has pledged £2 million over the next four years to support the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The creation by the UN of a new scientific body on biodiversity is a major step forward in the global battle to stop the loss of animal and plant species and restore ecosystems, says Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman. The UK has pledged £2 million over the next four years to help support the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which was announced by the UN this week.

With biodiversity decreasing at an alarming rate, and ecosystems continuing to be degraded, there is an urgent need for sound and trusted scientific evidence with which to tackle the growing threats to our environment. IPBES will provide independent advice and scientific evidence on our biodiversity and ecosystems for governments and policy makers across the world.

The UN General Assembly meeting in New York this week decided that the UN Environment Programme should take the first steps to create this new international body and it is expected that the first meeting will take place next summer.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman, said:

“The loss of biodiversity is one of the greatest threats we face and we need the best scientific evidence to tackle it. IPBES will give trusted, independent advice to governments and policy makers across the world, helping them take the best action to protect the world’s natural environment.

“The creation of IPBES is a triumph of many people’s hard work and a great way to bring the International Year of Biodiversity to a close. I am particularly grateful to our chief scientific adviser, Professor Bob Watson, who has played a leading role in ensuring the negotiations on IPBES were a success.”

Defra Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Bob Watson, said:

“Biodiversity is important in its own right but it is also essential to maintaining the ecosystems on which we all depend. If biodiversity loss continues we risk destabilising ecosystems which may have serious implications for human well-being, especially in Developing Countries. This new platform will help to mobilise the world’s scientific community, and bring scientists and policy-makers together, to find solutions to these problems.”

Published 4 December 2010