The objective of IPBES, the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, is to provide Governments, the private sector, and civil society with scientifically credible and independent up-to-date assessments of available knowledge to make informed decisions at the local, regional and international levels. This regional and subregional assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services for Europe and Central Asia has been carried out by 111 selected authors and 6 early career fellows, assisted by 149 contributing authors, primarily from this region, who have analyzed a large body of knowledge, including about 4750 scientific publications and other knowledge sources. It represents the state of knowledge about the Europe and Central Asia region and subregions. The chapters and their executive summaries were accepted, and the summary for policymakers was approved, by the 129 Member States of IPBES at the sixth session of the IPBES Plenary (18 to 24 March, 2018, Medellín, Colombia).
This report provides a critical assessment of the full range of issues facing decision makers, including the importance, status, trends and threats to biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people, as well as policy and management response options. Establishing the underlying causes of the loss of biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people provides policymakers with the information needed to develop appropriate response options, technologies, policies, financial incentives and behavior changes. The assessment concludes that nature’s contributions to people are critically important for a good quality of life, but are not evenly experienced by people and communities within the region, and are under threat due to the strong ongoing decline of biodiversity. While sustainability and conservation policies and actions have contributed to reversing some of the negative biodiversity trends, this progress remains insufficient. The assessment also notes the reliance on imports of renewable resources from outside the region. The major driver of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services to date has been land-use change, caused in part by production-based subsidies that led to unsustainable intensification of agricultural practices. However, the assessment notes that the impact of human induced climate change is increasing and is likely to be one of the most important drivers in the future. The assessment also found that economic growth has, in general, not been decoupled from environmental degradation. A continuation in past and present trends in the drivers that cause the loss of biodiversity is projected to inhibit the widespread achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Long-term societal transformations that focus on achieving a balanced supply of nature’s contributions to people, coupled with participatory decision-making processes, are likely to be the most effective for moving towards a sustainable future. The assessment identifies a mix of governance options, policies and management practices that is currently available to reduce the loss of biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people, but recognizes that further commitment is needed to adopt and implement them. Most important is to include the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and the provision of nature’s contributions to people, into all sectoral policies (e.g. agriculture, energy, health, industry, transportation), plans, programmes, strategies and practices - an objective known as “mainstreaming biodiversity”.
This regional assessment provides invaluable information for policymakers in Europe and Central Asia to make informed decisions regarding the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, the promotion of access to genetic resources, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use. It also provides valuable information for the ongoing IPBES global assessment, to be released in May 2019 and is expected to inform discussions regarding the post-2020 global biodiversity framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as to inform action on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.