CRASSH Biodiversity Workshop
At a meeting in Panama City in April, more than 90 governments established the latest science policy body to join the United Nations system. The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is designed to contribute to tackling global biodiversity loss through creating better links between science and policy. In May 2012 CSaP held an international workshop to discuss IPBES and to contribute thinking to its early development.
Delegates from academia, government, and natural history museums came together in Cambridge to discuss the potential contribution to IPBES from museums and other organisations at the intersection between science, policy and public engagement. The workshop was organised by CSaP in partnership with CRASSH, the Natural History Museum and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.
The workshop heard from a wide range of perspectives including national delegates to the UN meetings that established IPBES, national biodiversity assessment schemes in Norway and the Netherlands, academic participants in global science assessments, including the related Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Sessions were chaired by members of the CSaP network including Robert Doubleday, Bill Sutherland, Bhaskar Vira and Johannes Vogel.
The meeting concluded that museums and other institutions that operate at local and national levels have an important role to play supporting science–policy engagement at the global scale. In the particular case of biodiversity policy, such institutions can incorporate and respond to diverse local understandings of nature and biodiversity (such as indigenous knowledge and amateur naturalists). The workshop concluded by launching a network of academics, policy makers and natural history museums that will take this agenda forward through a series of meetings between academics, museums and policy makers to be convened by the Berlin Natural History Museum.