WABES facilitates a capacity-building framework across West Africa to support the Work Programme of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and in particular the preparation of the global, regional and thematic assessments. The overarching goal of WABES is to connect experts from West African universities, research institutions, and existing science-policy interfaces institutions and organisations and to strengthen the sub-regional expert pool to support and disseminate IPBES assessments.

WABES makes use of the experience of its international partners in (a) bringing together interdisciplinary expertise in a science-based context, (b) facilitating expert networks and interfaces, (c) implementing graduate programs in West Africa, and (d) developing and disseminating tools and approaches to conduct assessments. It is intended that the project will act as a blueprint for similar IPBES initiatives in other regions.

We are convinced that the approach of linking regional universities, experts and international institutions while bridging the gap between basic and applied research, and different disciplines through interdisciplinary knowledge and by approaching the science-policy interface holds a high multiplication potential. Lessons learned will be processed in an easily replicable way for adaption of similar participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building activities of the partners and other institutions.