Brazil: New biodiversity platform to support environmental policymaking
Agencia Brasil - Thursday 23rd February, 2017
The Brazilian Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BPBES) was launched Tuesday (Feb. 21) at the headquarters of the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), with the purpose of connecting scientific knowledge and public policymaking. It consists of 30 researchers from different research institutes around Brazil in such fields as conservation ecology, ecological economics, traditional knowledge, and sustainable development.
Carlos Joly, coordinator for BPBES, said the system will collect and compile scientific information and existing knowledge in a language that is suitable to be used by decision-makers from public and private institutions. "It will help bridge the gap between scientific research and decision-making, and create and develop a language that makes it faster and more effective."
Based on data gathered by the platform, an assessment to be carried out by 2018 will inform environmental decision-making in Brazil, in the same way other assessments run by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) do. IBPES was established in 012 to provide scientific information for policymaking.
"We expect them [decision-makers] to tap the findings of these assessments to enhance their policies," Joly went on.
As a result of the global platform, the findings of a diagnosis about pollination in food production carried out by IPBES were announced at FAPESP Tuesday (21). Brazilian researchers were part of the team.
"The first diagnosis was about pollination and pollinators associated with food production, showing how pollinator populations are vanishing from some regions of the world, the problems it creates for food production, and the impact on people's lives," said the BPBES coordinator.
According to Joly, the study was endorsed by the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Mexico last December, which only highlights the practical results of the project. "Several countries have already referred to [the diagnosis] to improve their pollination policies and pollinators, and we hope to encourage other countries to pursue polices for conservation-and especially management-of pollinators, considering the crucial role they play in food production," he said.
The practice of carrying out assessments based on biodiversity databases has been adopted before in Sao Paulo by the Biota program. Created in 1999 and funded by FAPESP, the program shares the same purposes that will now be pursued on a national scale by BPBES.
"[Biota] was an initiative from the scientific community, the researchers who gathered this data. After five years populating this database, the information was successfully produced and translated into a decision-maker-friendly language," said Joly, who also coordinates Biota.
He instanced the Sao Paulo State Environment Secretary, which implemented a map of priority areas with assessments from project Biota. As of 2007 and 2008, new environmental conservation units were created based on those indications.
"The agricultural and economic mapping and zoning of sugarcane crops in the state was also based on that diagnosis, and showed that those areas-which were important areas for recovery and conservation-should not be planted with sugarcane. They are still adhering to that today," he said.
This year, one of the resolutions of the Sao Paulo State Environment Secretariat that points out areas for restoration based on the new forest laws of the country, contains references to the areas indicated by project Biota.
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