The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is an independent intergovernmental body, established by member States in 2012. One of its objectives is to strengthen capacity and knowledge foundations to enable experts and institutions to contribute to and benefit from the science-policy interface processes (see IPBES work program).

In the frontline of its activities, WABES has the objective to facilitate capacity-building framework across West Africa in support of the Work Programme of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), particularly in the preparation of IPBES global, regional and thematic assessments. WABES represents a platform to connect scientists from universities, research institutions, and policy makers in West Africa in the field of biodiversity and ecosystem services, to strengthen the science-policy interface, foster regional collaborations, enhance policy coherence and support the regional expert pool to support and disseminate IPBES assessments.

WABES makes use of the experience of its partner institutions 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 initiatives to support IPBES work programme in other regions.

We are convinced that unifying regional and international experts while simultaneously bridging the gap between basic and applied research using interdisciplinary approach holds a high multiplier effect potential. Lessons learned will be processed in an easily replicable way for adaptation for similar participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building activities of partners and other institutions.