In June 2019, PBL organised a three-day workshop drawing on the ‘nature futures’ participatory scenario development work by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) expert group on scenarios and models. The aim was to co-create new positive scenarios on biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people with a diverse range of stakeholders and academic disciplines. This served as an opportunity to seek synergies with other biodiversity modelling groups for the production of innovative scenarios focusing on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and laid a joint roadmap for the medium and long term work.
The workshop, entitled ‘Global Modelling of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’, was organised on behalf of the former IPBES expert group on scenarios and models by its interim technical support unit based at PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, from 24th to 26th June 2019. It was attended by 35 modelling and scenario-building experts.
Joining forces across biodiversity modelling initiatives
This workshop drew on the ‘nature futures’ participatory scenario-building exercises initiated by the IPBES expert group on scenarios and models. Furthermore it made use of biodiversity modelling initiatives such as the ISIMIP project working on adding biodiversity to the SSP scenarios framework, the 'bending the curve' initiative led by IIASA and WWF, and GEOBON working on modelling Essential Biodiversity Variables.
The workshop was a next step in coordinating work across biodiversity modelling initiatives, to build on each other’s efforts. The meeting also sought synergies for the production of innovative scenarios on biodiversity and ecosystem services to inform the post-2020 agenda of the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.
The workshop allowed the formulation of concrete inputs to the 5th Global Biodiversity Outlook, the identification of mid-term and long-term tasks for the further elaboration of the IPBES Nature Futures Framework in collaboration with the modelling community, the identification and prioritisation of key questions for the nature futures modelling work, and the agreement on continued collaboration with the modelling community.
Strong support for the continuation of the nature futures process
The modellers present at the workshop expressed a strong wish to see continuity between the nature futures work led by the former IPBES expert group and the new IPBES task force on scenarios and models, so that the development of new scenarios can be catalysed for future use by IPBES and the broader community. Strong collaboration between the modelling community and broader stakeholders will ensure the legitimacy and relevance of outputs for policymaking, as well as encourage further sharing and uptake of the Nature Futures Framework in relevant initiatives.
Finally, the modellers were invited to explore further links between their work around new nature scenarios and the IPBES work programme up to 2030, including ongoing assessments on invasive alien species, sustainable use of wild species, and on multiple conceptualisations of values, as well as the upcoming IPBES assessments, e.g. on determinants of transformative change.