Published: 04 May 2020

IPBES Experts will review relationship between pandemics & biodiversity, drivers of pandemics & options for action in context of COVID-19 & outbreak prevention.

Considering the extraordinary situation caused by the novel Coronavirus and given the role that IPBES can play in strengthening the knowledge base on biodiversity links of current and future pandemics such as COVID-19 and in reaching a wide public, the IPBES Bureau and Multidisciplinary Expert Panel decided that IPBES will organize a virtual Platform workshop on the link between biodiversity and pandemics, from 27-31 July 2020.

The workshop will be held as a “Platform Workshop” in accordance with IPBES procedures. It will review evidence regarding the origin of infectious diseases transmitted from wild animals, the relationship between pandemics and biodiversity, in particular the drivers of pandemics and options for action related to biodiversity and ecosystem services, in the context of the current crisis and the prevention of future outbreaks.

The workshop will comprise about 20 experts selected by the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel from the pool of experts involved in ongoing IPBES work linked to the topic (i.e. about 5 experts from the scoping of the nexus assessment (thematic assessment of the interlinkages among biodiversity, water, food and health in the context of climate change), the  assessment of the sustainable use of wild species and the assessment of invasive alien species), as well as about 15 additional experts nominated by Governments and stakeholders.

The outcome of the workshop will be a workshop report that will mainly support the scoping of the nexus assessment (scoping for the nexus assessment was approved by the IPBES Plenary in decision IPBES-7/1 and the scoping report will be considered by the Plenary at IPBES 8). The report will, in particular, inform the scoping of the interlinkages between biodiversity and health with regard to pandemics and explore and outline relevant aspects, which could be addressed in the nexus assessment. Other ongoing scoping processes and assessments may be informed by the workshop report where relevant and appropriate.

The report will be subject to a round of peer-review in August 2020 and be made available publicly in September 2020. It will include a prominent disclaimer that the report has not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by the Plenary.

The Multidisciplinary Expert Panel invites Governments and other stakeholders to nominate experts to participate in this workshop. Organizations or institutions wishing to nominate are not required to have the status of an observer to the Plenary of IPBES to make a nomination. The deadline is 1 June and early nominations are encouraged.

Nominated experts should have recognized expertise related to biodiversity and pandemics, including in ecology and evolution of infectious diseases, epidemiology, public health (academic and nonacademic; national and international), political science, economics and behavioral science. All nominated experts (Nominees) will need to be available for the full duration of the virtual workshop, scheduled for 27-31 July 2020.