From: The Fiji Times
Published November 14, 2008 09:33 AM

Nations move on how to put 'natural assets' at the top of agenda

CLOSE to 100 nations have concluded a review of how science can better guide policy by examining the merits of a new scientific body able to put the loss of biodiversity, ecosystems and their multi-trillion dollar services at the top of the political agenda.

Recommendations on the final day included one to carry out a preliminary 'gap analysis' on where the link between scientists and those that make policy decisions at a national, regional and global level might be strengthened and for the executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to present toe outcome of this week to UNEP's Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum -- the big gathering of environment ministers scheduled for mid-February 2009.

The meeting also recommended that the UNEP Governing Council requests the executive director to "convene a second Intergovernmental Multi-stakeholder Meeting on an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services".

And added: "With the view to strengthening and improving the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for human well-being, including consideration of a new science-policy platform".

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The nations, gathering over three days in the Malaysian city of Putrajaya, were weighing the effectiveness of existing mechanisms to translate science into policy- action by governments including the merits of establishing an Intergovernmental Panel or Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES.

It reflected growing concern that the current international response was failing to galvanise a real and meaningful response to the decline of the globe's economically important natural or nature-based assets from species and soils to forests and fisheries.

The failure is in part as a result of a fragmented landscape of reports and assessments by a multitude of organizations each coming to the issue from different approaches and with different methods.

"The end result is that a policy-makers lack the validated, coherent and actionable guide to what is the most sensible tack for turning around biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation," said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme which convened the Malaysia meeting.

Article Continues: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=106224

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