Welcome to WABES

WABES is an initiative to facilitate networking and capacity-building across West Africa to support the Work Programme of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and in particular the assessments.

The overarching goal is to connect Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service (BES) experts from West African universities, research institutions, and existing science-policy interfaces. Annually conducted workshops will act as exchange platforms and as distribution hubs for IPBES developments, supplemented by discussion groups to connect experts and policy makers across West Africa and beyond.

Complementarily, a Master of Science (MSc) program on BES assessments is being established in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, addressing participants from all 15 West African ECOWAS countries. Altogether, the framework shall act as pioneer for strengthening the sub-regional expert pool to support and disseminate assessments within the scope of IPBES.

WABES is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

Project Members

Prof. Dr. Christian Borgemeister
The Managing Director, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany

The experience of the Center for Development Research in interdisciplinary research on development-related issues as well as ZEF’s experience in establishing graduate programs and managing international project consortia will help WABES to be efficient and effective in supporting the West African contribution to IPBES by supporting young professionals and connecting senior experts.

Dr. Isimemen Osemwegie
Senior Researcher, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany - Associate Programme Officer, WABES

IPBES (stakeholder, member, The Open-ended Network (O-NET)

WABES is an initiative that brings together Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Experts and Policymakers in West Africa with an aim to increase their contributions to IPBES and catalyse biodiversity conservation,  and I just love to be a part of it.

Prof. Dr. Konate Souleymane
Director, Laboratory of Ecology and Sustainable Development (LEDD), Nangui Abrogoua University, Cote d’Ivoire

Deputy Director, WASCAL, Cote d’Ivoire.

Coordinator, WABES Graduate program (SPIBES) and CEA-CCBAD, Félix Houphouët-Boigny University, Cote d’Ivoire.

WABES aims to strengthen the capacity of multilevel-stakeholders in the field of biodiversity and ecosystem services in West Africa. The SPIBES  master’s program, as a part of the WABES initiative is actively building a new generation of scientists to partake in efforts at proffering solutions to the numerous complex and challenging environmental issues through multidisciplinary approaches. I am delighted to be a partner in this venture.

Dr. Jennifer Hauck
CEO, CoKnow Consulting, Germany

IPBES (Member of Expert Group, Coordinating lead author (CLA) and Review Editor)

WABES is a fantastic team and working in this innovative project and with the SPIBES Master students is a great joy. I hope to contribute to the project by supporting the exchange between WABES and IPBES with using my extended involvement in divers IPBES processes and activities.

Dr. Jan Henning Sommer
Senior Researcher, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany - Programme Officer, WABES

Member of the IPBES capacity building task group and the Open-ended Stakeholder Network (O-NET)

WABES connects people who are passionate change makers engaging for a better implementation of the IPBES work programme in West Africa and beyond. Nature’s contributions to people need to be considered not only in environmental policies, but should be valued as indispensable pre-requisite for sustainable development across all political sectors. Science policy interfaces are crucial to translate scientific findings into implementable policy options.

Dr. Lisa Biber-Freudenberger
Senior Researcher, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany - Conceptualization and project advisor, WABES

Participant in multiple IPBES Plenaries and national IPBES Meetings

IPBES is one of the most important initiatives to support evidence-based decision making for biodiversity and ecosystem services but countries from many parts of the world, especially sub-Sahara Africa have been left out because political and economic circumstances have not allowed experts to get involved as much as they should have. WABES is a project designed to change this situation for the better I am very happy to be a team member of WABES, which will be a success story with the support and enthusiasm of our  local partners.

Dr. KOUADIO Kouakou
Senior Lecturer and Researcher, Department of Physics, University Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

Assistant coordinator, WABES Graduate program (SPIBES), Cote d’Ivoire

WABES is a project that promotes networking and capacity-building across West Africa to support the Work Programme of IPBES. Its MSc program (SPIBES) is a pioneer for strengthening the sub-regional inter- and transdisciplinary capacity of students to engage in science-policy interfaces at different scales (international, regional, sub-regional and nationalrelated to the implementation of policies for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) and sustainable development pathways. As a climate scientist, I am interested in the implication of Climate change in biodiversity loss.

Dr. Da Sylvestre Sié
Scientist, West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso - Co-ordinator, WABES Experts Network

Participant in IPBES plenaries and Capacity Building forum, and member of Open-ended Network (O-NET)

Bringing biodiversity and ecosystems services considerations into decision making is a crucial step towards improving interaction of human with nature. This is what IPBES stands for. I am excited to be part of WABES initiative which aims at improving the contribution of West Africa to the success of the platform.

Abisha Mapendembe

WABES Focal Point for UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, United Kingdom

UNEP-WCMC brings to the WABES initiative, a wealth of practical experience and expertise on, among other subjects; the Convention on Biological Diversity and IPBES processes; capacity building for national ecosystem assessments; and supporting the uptake of the assessments into decision making. This will be immensely beneficial for the SPIBES MSc programme as well as a network of biodiversity and ecosystem service experts in West Africa. As an expert in mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystem services into decision-making, I will be supporting the use of both the process and outputs of assessments to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services considerations directly into national and sectoral policies, business and industry. I am delighted to be part of the WABES initiative – it is a great marriage for the greater good.