Biodiversity and ecosystem services: intergovernmental platform

Official title: Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

Subject category:
Type of agreement / instrument:
Voluntary Multilateral Instrument
Cooperative Forum
  • Canada was among the countries that established the Platform in April 2012. There are 138 member states as of January 2022.
Lead & partner departments:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
For further information:
Web links:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
February 2022
Reference #:

Plain language summary

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is an independent body, established by 94 governments in 2012. It provides timely assessments of the state of the planet's biodiversity and the essential services they provide to people. The Platform also identifies available tools and methods to protect, manage, and sustainably use nature. By developing a common knowledge base for biodiversity and ecosystem services, IPBES can contribute to improved effectiveness and efficiency of decision-making in Canada. 


The objective of the Platform is to strengthen 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. It provides decision makers with objective scientific assessments about the state of knowledge regarding the planet’s biodiversity, its ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society.

Key elements

The IPBES has four functions:

  • identifying scientific information needs and catalyzing knowledge generation;
  • implementing and promoting assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services that are relevant to decision-makers;
  • promoting  accessibility and  development of policy support tools; and,
  • identifying and addressing capacity building needs and catalyzing financial support.

Expected results

The Platform is expected to fill existing gaps in the science-policy interface relating to biodiversity and ecosystem services by synthesizing, reviewing, assessing and critically evaluating relevant information and knowledge generated worldwide by governments, academia, scientific organizations, non-governmental organizations, Indigenous peoples and local communities for the effective use of knowledge in decision-making.

Canada’s involvement

Canada participates in the development of IPBES products, providing information and expertise at all stages. It also contributes funds for the operation of the Platform.

Information from the IPBES contributes to advancing the work of several biodiversity-related international conventions of importance to Canada. Consensus on a common knowledge base for biodiversity and ecosystem services can contribute to improved decision-making in areas such as conservation planning, biodiversity safeguards, carbon sequestration and valuation of ecosystem services and provide science underpinnings to advance development strategies on conservation and sustainable development, both in Canada and abroad.

Results / progress


Environment and Climate Change Canada provides a National Focal Point  for the Platform, leads delegations to the Plenary sessions and facilitates nomination of experts to participate in the  work programme. Canadian experts have participated in task forces and as assessment co-chairs, leading authors, and coordinators of IPBES assessments.



In 2019, the Platform released the Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The Global Assessment provided evidence that worldwide, nature and the services nature provides to people are deteriorating rapidly as a result of human activities. This deterioration is affecting economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life. The authors of the report stress that while urgent action is needed to reverse this trend it is not too late to act by addressing the root causes of nature deterioration. The results from the assessment will be considered by the Convention on Biological Diversity at the 15th Conference of the Parties where a new strategic plan and post-2020 biodiversity targets will be adopted.

As part of its rolling work programme, two new thematic assessments have been initiated, one on the interlinkages among biodiversity, water, food and health and the other on the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and the determinants of transformative change. Assessments on the Sustainable Use of Wild Species and the Diverse Conceptualization of Multiple Values of Nature and its Benefits will be finalized in 2022.

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