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History of the establishment of IPBES

At a meeting on biodiversity and ecosystem services in June 2010, States adopted the Busan outcome document which stated that “an intergovernmental science-policy platform for biodiversity and ecosystem services should be established”. By resolution 65/162 of 20 December 2010, the General Assembly “[took] note of the Busan outcome” and requested the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), “to convene a plenary meeting…to determine modalities and institutional arrangements for [IPBES]”. According to the UN Office of Legal Affairs, the General Assembly by taking note of the Busan outcome did not establish IPBES as a United Nations body.

Subsequently, participating States at their plenary meeting in April 2012 adopted a resolution that established IPBES as “an independent intergovernmental body,” with the seat of the secretariat located in Bonn, Germany. They also decided that the first session of the IPBES Plenary would decide on the link between [IPBES] and the United Nations system.”  

At its first session in January 2013, the IPBES Plenary requested UNEP to provide the secretariat of IPBES, which would be solely accountable to the IPBES Plenary on policy and programmatic matters. It invited UNEP “to provide administrative arrangements for the [IPBES] secretariat” and requested UNEP, “to finalize a host country agreement with the Government of Germany for the presence of the IPBES secretariat in Bonn.” At its 27th session in 2013, the UNEP Governing Council authorized the Executive Director, within available resources, to provide the secretariat and administrative arrangements for the IPBES secretariat. Current staff of the IPBES secretariat are employed by UNEP.