The terms of reference of the task force on knowledge and data assign to the task force the responsibility to advise on the indicators and metrics to be used in IPBES products and on the standards necessary for capturing and managing associated data (decision IPBES-2/5, section II).

Quantitative indicators of change in biodiversity, nature’s contributions to people and quality of life, and the direct and indirect drivers that underpin these changes represent an important assessment element. The task group on indicators aims to provide the authors of ongoing assessments with a set of indicators that cover all elements of the IPBES conceptual framework. Complementing other forms of information and knowledge that follow general guidelines but are not necessarily harmonized, standardized indicators have the potential to provide a common thread and quantitative point of comparison among assessments. They facilitate the synthesis envisioned for the global assessment, and ensure comparability and coherence across the regional assessments and between the regional/ land degradation and restoration assessments on the one hand, and the global assessment on the other hand. The IPBES set of indicators includes two types of indicators:

  1. a list of core indicators, which authors are urged to use (in addition to other indicators or data sources they may choose) in their work;
  2. a list of highlighted indicators, which authors may be interested in using, but with no expectation regarding their consistent use in the assessments. 

Information for authors:

Core (use what is currently on the website – requirement to log in)
Highlighted (use what is currently on the website – requirement to log in)
Maps of IPBES regions and subregions (use what is currently on the website – requirement to log in)

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Neither the 30 core indicators, nor the 42 highlighted indicators sufficiently cover socio-economic (ecosystem services and human well-being) components of the IPBES conceptual framework nor the links between them, and efforts were started in 2016 to address these gaps. An approach involving social-ecological bundles of indicators is currently being developed and piloted for the global assessment.

The work of the task group on indicators comprises therefore three main elements:

  1. the selection of core and highlighted indicators for use in IPBES assessments,
  2. the collaboration with organizations that have developed the selected indicators regarding the provision of information and data related to those indicators, and
  3. the provision of tailored support to assessment authors.

The task group on indicators collaborates with experts from IPBES assessments in the identification of social-ecological bundles of indicators.

IPBES work relies heavily on the scientific community and initiatives by groups of scientists that can inform the formal IPBES processes. Click here for an overview of organizations that support the IPBES work on indicators.

Work for the intersessional period 2017/18 includes the following activities and milestones

Activity Sub-activity Dates
Provision of data and standardized visualisations for IPBES core indicators, as appropriate, to assessment authors   By October 2017
Identification of a social-ecological bundle of indicators to support a narrative across assessment chapters    
  First workshop on social-ecological bundles of indicators, Budapest, Hungary 6 to 7 April 2017
  Piloting of the approach using social-ecological bundles of indicators through the global assessment, Second Author Meeting of the Global Assessment, Cape Town, South Africa 18 to 22 September 2017
  Second workshop on socio-ecological bundles of indicators, Seoul, Republic of Korea 5 to 7 December 2017
  Finalization of a first social-ecological bundle of indicators to support a theme of the global assessment By March 2018