In the context of its activities, WABES aims 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 assessments (global, regional and thematic). 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.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is an independent intergovernmental body, established by member States in 2012. Its four functions are ‘knowledge generation’, ‘assessments’, ‘policy tools & methodologies’, and ‘capacity building’ (see IPBES work programs).

WABES builds on the experience of its partner institutions in (a) implementing expert networks and interfaces; (b) bringing together interdisciplinary expertise in the development of graduate programs in West Africa; and (c) developing and disseminating tools and approaches for conducting policy-relevant scientific assessments.

We are sure that the uniting of regional and international experts, while at the same time bridging the gap between basic and applied research using an interdisciplinary approach, have a strong multiplier effect potential. Lessons learned will be processed in an easily replicable form for adaptation to similar participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building activities for partners and other institutions. The initiative is intended to act as a blueprint for similar initiatives to support the IPBES work programmes in other regions.