IPBES Capacity Building: Next Steps Taken by Task Force

Dr. Kristina Raab, UFZ

by Kristina Raab, NeFo


Last week, IPBES’ task force on capacity building (CB) met in Trondheim to discuss and coordinate the next steps in the implementation of the rolling plan on capacity building, recently welcomed by the fifth IPBES plenary in Bonn. An annex will be added to the plan, embodying the ‘rolling’ nature of the plan, and small working groups are beginning intersessional work on relevant topics.

The capacity building rolling plan presented at IPBES-5 (see IPBES/5/3 for Executive Summary) comprises three strategies:

  • Learning and engagement
  • Facilitating access to expertise and information
  • Strengthening national and regional capacities

Recent capacity building activities of IPBES include the expansion of the IPBES fellowship programme, the holding of regional workshops for the Eastern Europe/central Asia, Africa, and Asia-Pacific regions, and webinars. Furthermore, following a call for relevant projects, the task force reviewed proposals and identified projects most useful to support for capacity building purposes. How to proceed with these proposals will likely be jointly decided on by the MEP and Bureau at their next meeting.

The implementation of the rolling plan will require the support of partner organisations, esp. in the context of the reduced budget of IPBES. Therefore, the 1st and 2nd capacity building fora (in Dehradun India, Oct 2015 and New York, USA, Sept 2016) had provided a space for exchange among partner organisations, and now partners were invited to this fifth task force’s meeting to begin consolidating collaborations.



Partners present at the meeting had the opportunity to present their projects/initiatives/products to task force members focusing on the overlap with aspects of the rolling plan’s three strategies.

Partner organisations interested in supporting IPBES’ capacity building needs and present at the meeting were at various stages of implementing relevant activities. Some had secured funding and already had elaborated plans, providing a window of opportunity for IPBES to increase the alignment of these activities with the rolling plan, while others were in the stage of offering support to IPBES according to potential capacity building needs IPBES may have identified.

An annex will be added to the rolling plan and represent the contributions partners are making to date and will be filled by the TSU based on partner’s contributions in the next month or so.

The procedure for partner organisations to get engaged with IPBES is not yet fully established, and thus IPBES and existing partners continue to search for the most effective and mutually beneficial way forward in supporting each other in implementing the rolling plan and capacity building activities.

In the meantime, at the task force meeting, small working groups established themselves to address the following topics (general descriptions below; these may be subject to change):

1. Annex: Fine-tuning the format and content of the table showing partner contributions

2. Process: Developing a suggested procedure for consolidating partners’ contributions, including overview of responsibilities within IPBES

3. Web: Improving the online presence of capacity building topics on the IPBES website and more

4. Uptake of regional assessments: how to make this more effective

5. Sub-regional/national platforms: developing guidelines to support their establishment, based on experiences to date

6. Capacity building and training: gaining an overview of what exists, and developing educational materials

These groups will give feedback to the upcoming MEP and Bureau meeting in June, and activities will continue and be reported on at IPBES-6.