Moving conservation into the mainstream: collaborative CCI action in support of IPBES

IPBES – the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services - is the result of half a decade of intergovernmental discussion and negotiation. It aims to solve a major and seemingly intractable problem – how to translate biodiversity and ecosystem information into effective policy responses to reduce biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.

It is expected IPBES will draw on the best available information to produce, or facilitate the production of, independent, policy-relevant scientific assessments. It is a platform mandated by governments to answer questions that decision-makers want answered. Substantially modeled on the IPCC, IPBES will provide the best hope yet for mainstreaming biodiversity conservation into decision-making.

The University departments and organisations within CCI collectively have a huge amount to offer to the IPBES process, including significant science and research capacity and capacity-building experience. This project led to the foundation of the CCI IPBES Liaison Group. This group meets periodically to allow CCI partners to brief each other on the latest developments in the IPBES process and to and to discuss how CCI can most effectively engage with and contribute to it.

This project was funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation.

Project Aims

The project aims to catalyse collective CCI engagement with IPBES as it emerges and develops, by bringing together CCI organisations to plan how they can best support and influence the work programme and help make sure that the Platform works effectively. Although international in scope, the project will also facilitate engagement with, and support to, the UK Government on IPBES issues.

Key Activities

  • The successful application to the CCI Collaborative Fund led to the formation of a CCI IPBES Liaison Group who have so far met six times between May 2011 and November 2012.
  • The project supported CCI participation in the IPBES preparatory meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in October 2011.
  • Following the IPBES preparatory meeting in Panama in April 2012, a series of discussions of four elements related to the IPBES work plan, where CCI has special relevance or expertise, began with a workshop: ‘Exploring future scenarios and opportunities for collaboration’ on 19th June 2012.
  • In August 2012 CCI hosted a UK stakeholder meeting (on behalf of DEFRA/JNCC) to input to the UK’s position on capacity-building.

Conservation Impact

This project has catalyzed an increased awareness of IPBES across CCI organisations, including those that had not previously had the resource to follow developments or explore opportunities. In addition, this is one of the first times that CCI has come together to review the collective contribution it can make to a global initiative and this will provide valuable lessons and experience for future collaborative work.


  1. A set of postcards outlining how the work being carried out within CCI could contribute to the IPBES process was distributed at the first session of the IPBES plenary meeting held between 3rd to the 7th October 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya.
  2. Concepts/discussion documents are in preparation on the four elements identified as particular focuses for CCI engagement: capacity development, incentives and barriers to participation in assessments, citizen science and future scenarios.
  3. An information document prepared by UNEP-WCMC in advance of the first IPBES plenary meeting in January 2013 to inform discussions concerning the participation of experts in potential IPBES assessments, using interview responses to illustrate the positive and negative incentives to participate in assessments.

CCI partners Involved

Tropical Biology Association is dedicated to building the capacity and expertise of people and institutions to conserve and manage biodiversity in tropical regions. Its network spans 40 countries.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. It is the largest wildlife conservation organisation in...
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) protects threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science and that take account of human needs....
The Department of Zoology carries out wide-ranging work in ecology and conservation including conservation science, aquatic ecology, pathogen evolution and evolutionary ecology. Research of the...
The Department of Geography's research clusters focus on society and environment, development and political ecology, culture and demography, environmental processes, landscape modelling and climate...
BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...
Cambridge Conservation Forum (CCF) is a network that links the diverse Cambridge-based community of conservation practitioners and researchers working at local, national and international levels.
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is an independent scientific research trust specialising in impartial evidence-based knowledge and advice about populations, movements and ecology of birds and...
The Department of Plant Sciences' research spans plant and microbial sciences. Conservation-related work in the department includes forest ecology and conservation, tropical ecology, mathematical...
The Department of Land Economy's core research in economics, law and planning focuses on policies and regulations for the management of land and natural resources. There is particular expertise in...
The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental...
The Centre for Science and Policy helps the sciences and technology to serve society by promoting engagement between researchers and policy professionals. Specifically, we provide: Policy...

Related Resources

Resource Title Description Type
Briefing on IPBES Jerry Harrison gave an update on the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) on 3 October at UNEP-WCMC. 2013 is the year in which the IPBES work... Talks and presentations
Information document: A preliminary review of the motivations for participating in IPBES assessments (IPBES/1/INF/15) This paper aims to inform discussions concerning the participation of experts in potential IPBES assessments, using interview responses to illustrate the positive and negative incentives to... Working papers and reports
Postcards: A series of postcards summarising CCI activities, prepared for IPBES The CCI IPBES Liaison Group produced a series of postcards outlining how the work being carried out within CCI could contribute to the IPBES process. The postcards were distributed at the first... Policy briefs, Handouts and booklets