Over 130 leading scientists from 70 countries in capital

Kathmandu, Feb. 7: Over 130 leading scientists and subject experts from 70 countries have arrived in Kathmandu for the third author meeting of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) nexus assessment.

The assessment will examine the interlinkages among the sustainable development goals related to food and water security, health for all, protecting biodiversity, and combating climate change.

The meeting that began on February 5 will end on February 9 followed by a meeting to advance a summary for policymakers from February 10 to 11, 2024. The meetings are being jointly hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests of Nepal, and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and will take place at the ICIMOD headquarters in Kathmandu.

This is the first time an IPBES assessment meeting is being held in South Asia, according to a press statement issued by ICIMOD.

 “In addition to the privilege of hosting an IPBES assessment author meeting of such importance, we see this as an opportunity to highlight critical biodiversity and related issues in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) to a very distinguished group of global experts and the IPBES Secretariat,” said Izabella Koziell, Deputy Director General, ICIMOD. “To protect the HKH region, we must collaborate, make scaled investments, and forge partnerships for transformative change,” Koziell added.

The overall aim of the nexus assessment is to facilitate an enhanced understanding of the complex and dynamic interrelationships between biodiversity, water, food, and health, in the context of climate change, and to identify options to improve policies and foster greater understanding and collaboration across the nexus-related sectors, the statement read.

Reflecting on the importance of the meeting for the region, Sunita Chaudhary, Ecosystem Services Specialist at ICIMOD and lead author for the assessment, said, “It is high time that global leaders and scientists recognise and act for mountains and mountain communities.” 

Nakul Chettri, Senior Biodiversity Specialist at ICIMOD also highlighted, “Global science-policy processes such as IPBES and IPCC could be instrumental in highlighting the fate of mountains that cover close to one-quarter of Earth’s land surface.”

“IPBES is very pleased that this vital author meeting – for the most complex assessment we have ever undertaken – is being hosted in Kathmandu,” said Dr. Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary of IPBES. “The warm hospitality and invaluable expertise of our ICIMOD colleagues, combined with the awe-inspiring biodiversity and vistas of Nepal, provide excellent impetus for the final stages of the drafting process of the IPBES nexus assessment.”

The IPBES assessment of invasive alien species, published in 2023, highlighted the threats that more than 3,500 of the more than 37,000 alien species introduced by humans to new regions and biomes worldwide pose to nature, economy, food security, and human health. 

In addition to their role in 60 per cent of global plant and animal extinctions, the annual costs of biological invasions were estimated at more than a staggering $423 billion in 2019. Similarly, the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, published in 2019, warned that nature was “declining at rates unprecedented in human history” and that some one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades.

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