Second Session of Plenary Establishes IPBES, Selects Bonn as Location
24 April 2012: The second session of a plenary meeting on the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) ended with the adoption of a resolution establishing the IPBES, following seven years of discussion. It also selected Bonn, Germany, as the physical location of the Platform's Secretariat. Other modalities and institutional arrangements also were considered.The second session took place from 15-21 April 2012, in Panama City, Panama. The meeting was attended by 270 delegates representing 103 countries, one observer, three intergovernmental organizations, 21 NGOs, five conventions and five UN bodies and specialized agencies.
On the work programme of IPBES, participants addressed: avoiding duplication and overlaps with existing initiatives and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs); identifying activities for the work programme; and establishing a work programme for the intersessional period prior to the first plenary of IPBES.
On the functions and bodies that might be established under IPBES, participants considered: whether regional economic integration organizations (REIOs) could be IPBES members; the involvement of UN bodies, observers and MEAs; plenary functions; selection of officers; and participation of stakeholders.
On rules and procedures, participants debated at length the question of decision making, arguing whether: there is or should be a difference between substantive and procedural decisions, and how to differentiate between the two; consensus should be applied to both types of decisions; voting should be undertaken in cases of “last resort” for substantive decisions; and voting for options should take a two-thirds or simple majority. Participants did not agree, and the questions will be addressed at the first session of IPBES.
On the physical location of the Secretariat, participants considered bids from France, Germany, India, Kenya and the Republic of Korea, and decided that IPBES would be located in Bonn, Germany.
Finally, on host institutions, discussions followed on the joint proposal submitted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and UN Development Programme (UNDP) to host the secretariat. UNEP will continue to facilitate the Platform on an interim basis. [IISD RS Coverage of the meeting]