West Africa is exceptionally rich in biodiversity and ecosystem services and hosts a wealth of expertise in research on biodiversity, ecosystem services and policy. However, there is a lack of effective interfaces between science and policy in the field of IPBES-relevant topics. Within WABES such interfaces are facilitated and strengthened by bringing together experts and initiating exchange between scientists as well as representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Through a facilitated exchange through annual workshops involving targeted training, West African experts shall be supported to effectively perform their duties as members of national delegations at IPBES plenary sessions and/or IPBES working group assessments. This will also help to improve the balance of interventions at IPBES plenary sessions, and the expert groups, where (West) African experts are currently still underrepresented.

The first regional expert workshop was held November 28 – December 1, 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The second regional expert workshop was held June 21-21, 2018 in Accra, Ghana. The third regional expert workshop will be held in May 2019 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

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