FIRST CABES SUB-REGIONAL WORKSHOP EAST AFRICA“ROAD TO A DESIRED FUTURE: THE IPBES NATURE FUTURES’ FRAMEWORK AND SCIENCE-POLICY-PRACTICE INTERFACE FOR VISION 2050”
8th – 9th November 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
In the framework of the CABES project, the first sub-regional experts’ workshop on “Road to a Desired Future: the IPBES Nature Futures’ Framework and Science-Policy-Practice Interface for Vision 2050” took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from November 8th – 9th 2023. In attendance at this workshop were eighty (80) experts from 27 countries. Amongst the participants were representatives from IPBES secretariat, IPBES national focal points, researchers, NGOs, as well as from the policy and the private sector. The workshop was conducted in a participatory way through several plenary sessions, breakout group sessions, interactive panels, and presentations.
Through plenaries and different parallel sessions, the sub-regional workshop raised awareness on IPBES, the CABES project, promoted and strengthened the utilization of IPBES assessments/products, and increased the stakeholders’ engagement in IPBES work programs to enable the timely achievement of IPBES goals.
1. Raising awareness and promoting stakeholders’ engagement in ipbes work:
The participants recognized the relevance of the CABES initiative and its goals to support networking and engagement in IPBES through capacity development amongst multiple stakeholder groups in East Africa and to facilitate knowledge transfer about IPBESs. They also underlined the relevance of the CABES project to support networking and exchanges on best practices for better management and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services across the East Africa region. The participants noticed the challenges in engaging stakeholders in IPBES processes and provided useful ideas to better address the different stakeholder groups, particular women and youth groups, indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) holders, and the private sector that are underrepresented. Further, the participants highlighted the relevance of IPBES for East Africa, as a sub-region exceptionally rich in biodiversity, and in many ways dependent on nature and its contributions to people.Facilitate exchange between different stakeholders :The participants emphasized the strong need to bring together the different stakeholders to address the challenges related to biodiversity and ecosystem services in their respective countries.. They appreciated the importance of such a workshop that facilitates networking activities through various interactive sessions and group discussions; where individual views were expressed, and common ideas developed. Although they are willing to engage in networking, they expressed several challenges beyond their control. Therefore, they requested possible support from CABES. The participants were happy about this opportunity and expressed interest in more such opportunities for exchanges across Eastern Africa.
2. Facilitate exchange between different stakeholders :
The participants emphasized the strong need to bring together the different stakeholders to address the challenges related to biodiversity and ecosystem services in their respective countries.. They appreciated the importance of such a workshop that facilitates networking activities through various interactive sessions and group discussions; where individual views were expressed, and common ideas developed. Although they are willing to engage in networking, they expressed several challenges beyond their control. Therefore, they requested possible support from CABES. The participants were happy about this opportunity and expressed interest in more such opportunities for exchanges across Eastern Africa.
3. Strengthen the sub-regional and national Biodiversity and ecosystem services Platforms:
The participants expressed the necessity of establishing and implementing national, sub-regional and regional platforms to support IPBES national focal points in their countries and to help better connect to the IPBES processes and facilitate the mainstreaming of IPBES relevant topics. Many countries expressed the need for establishing functional national biodiversity platforms that foster a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to assessments and their uptake, and policy development and implementation, including biodiversity-relevant multilateral environmental agreements such as CBD, UNFCCC, and UNCCD following the CABES project approach. Possible stakeholders, as well as their needs and modalities for engagement in the CABES-supported platforms, were also identified and documented. The strong need for the sustainability of these platforms was expressed. The participants appreciated CABES and other initiatives such as the National Ecosystem Assessment Initiatives and BES-Net ongoing efforts to establish and strengthen new and existing national platforms, but at the same time indicated their strong interest in extending this number in the future. Challenges and opportunities regarding policy support and Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services conservation at different geographic scales were discussed. Of note, participants noted the limited relevance of regional and global assessments in informing national and sub-national policy processes. They called upon IPBES, donors and other like-minded actors to support countries to develop national ecosystem assessments which are more relevant to national policy, planning and decision making processes.
4. Supporting uptake of IPBES products – the invasive alien species assessment and Nature Futures Framework (NFF) :
The participants recognized the importance of IPBES products such as the assessment on the invasive alien species and the IPBES Nature Futures Framework (NFF). They stressed the increasing threats that invasive alien species pose to biodiversity, ecosystem services, sustainable development and human well-being. Therefore, participants expressed the need for a proper uptake of the key messages of these products, in particular the Invasive Alien Species Assessment national policies, as this is crucial for the countries of the East African region. They also highlighted the need for joint collaboration between their national focal points and relevant stakeholders (scientists and policy makers) in their countries to develop concrete policy implementation strategies . Participants also expressed the need to consider important organisms with high socioeconomic values, like Fungi, into the assessments. The integration of nature (biodiversity) and its contributions to people into national policy, planning and decision-making is critical to sustainable development.
5. Stakeholder demands for the CABES Capacity Development for early career scientists and senior Professionals were identified:
The participants are convinced about the necessity of theCABES Capacity Development Programme for early career scientists and senior professionals as a means to further improve the knowledge base on topics relevant in the context of IPBES and Science-Policy-Practice Interfaces. They further appreciated the coming CABES master programme for East and Central Africa – SPIBES. They were informed about the targeted countries and the number of students for the SPIBES programmes across East and Central Africa. In addition, the participants provided ideas to make the SPIBES programmes sustainable. Moreover, the participants emphasized the need for targeted courses for senior professionals, such as NFPs and other stakeholder groups. The participants welcomed the efforts promised by the CABES Capacity Development Programme – CCDP for professionals to deliver numerous online courses based on participants’ needs.
6. Acknowledgments by the Participants:
Participants express their sincere gratitude to the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Consumer Protection (BMUV) for its interest in the Eastern Africa sub-region and the support of CABES, and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) for supporting this workshop and its objectives. Participants affirm their interests and commitments to CABES and its implementation and are grateful to the organizers of this first sub-regional workshop for providing the necessary facilities and a pleasant working atmosphere. The participants express their sincere thanks to the Government of Ethiopia and the Addis Ababa University-Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center and Network for hosting the workshop.
Addis Ababa, November 9th 2023