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 in November 28 – December 1, 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The second regional expert workshop was held June 21-25, 2018 in Accra, Ghana. The third regional expert workshop will be held in May 2019 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Network building

WABES intends to bring together experts from all fields related to Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) at the Science/Policy interface across West Africa. Amongst them, networking and exchange is facilitated through annual workshops and online activities. Furthermore, a better link to the international IPBES community shall be established:

  • Experts of the region share their experiences and knowledge, and are informed about current IPBES activities and its future development
  • Experts will be provided with a forum to exchange information on IPBES related topics among themselves and get experience from international community already involved in IPBES work programme.
  • Experts will be informed about the WABES project, it objectives and planned activities as well as ways of participating and benefitting.

If you are already a BES expert or would like to become an expert, connect to West African and other international experts, and would like to improve or share your knowledge about IPBES and its work plan, we encourage you to subscribe to this network.