IPBES aims to finalize five assessments at the sixth session of the IPBES Plenary, in March 2018: four regional assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services (for Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe and Central Asia) and the thematic assessment on land degradation and restoration.
One of the most important phases in drafting assessments is the period in which they are opened for external review by any interested experts, ranging from scientists and decision-makers, to practitioners and the holders of indigenous and local knowledge.
Participation and engagement of Governments in the external review period is especially vital to strengthen the credibility, legitimacy and policy relevance of the assessments, as well as to deepen their ownership of the assessments.
The eight-week period for external review of the second order drafts of the assessment chapters and the first order drafts of the summaries for policymakers will run from 1 May until 26 June 2017 for the land degradation and restoration, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Europe and Central Asia assessments; and from 29 May until 24 July 2017 for the Americas assessment.
Experts wishing to participate will first need to register as users of the IPBES website if they have not already done so. They can then apply to become an IPBES external reviewer for individual chapters per assessment at www.ipbes.net/sod-review (this will only work when logged in first as IPBES website users). They will receive confidential access to the draft chapters and summaries for policymakers and will be requested to submit their comments in English using a template that will also be supplied. All relevant comments will then be addressed by the assessment authors in the next round of revisions.
A 20-minute webinar focusing on how Governments especially can participate in this external review has been recorded. The webinar can be accessed on the IPBES website and on YouTube. The secretariat is also producing ‘print-ready’ A-5 size flyers in all six UN official languages, which will soon be shared electronically to help participants advertise the external review process.