Welcome to WABES

The West African Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (WABES) is an initiative with the primary aim to facilitate networking and capacity-building across West Africa to support the Work Programmes of the World Biodiversity council, Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and in particular, its scientific assessments.

As part of its networking activities, training workshops, bringing together Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) experts from universities, research institutions, science-policy interfaces (SPIs), government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) holders in West Africa and beyond, are held annually to serve as the exchange platforms and distribution hubs for IPBES developments.

The face-to-face workshops are complemented by an online platform available on our website. In parallel, a Master’s programme on “Managing the Science-Policy Interface on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for sustainable development in West Africa – SPIBES” was established in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire in collaboration with the University Felix Houphouët-Boigny (UFHB). This interdisciplinary graduate programme is open to qualified students from each of the fifteen member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Ultimately, WABES is a pioneer in strengthening the BES sub-regional pool of experts to support and disseminate IPBES assessments.

WABES, a consortium of partner institutions across West Africa and Europe, is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).


Linking Science and Policy for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity.

Join us for an online workshop on November 3 and 4, 2020 – 3 pm CET


by Abdul W. Arimiyaw, Ambrosse B. Kenneh & Abdoulaye D. Diallo

Lockdown interventions have become a crucial component of public health measures to curtail the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. In many West African countries, the identification of community hotspots of COVID-19 infections certainly justifies the decision to restrict movement in these areas, which are mainly urban or sub-urban. To most governments, the implementation of lockdown measures is an effort to avoid frequent contact between people, as social distancing clearly helps slow down the spread of the virus.


Meet the Team

Prof. Dr. Christian Borgemeister

Managing Director, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany

WABES builds on the expertise and experience of ZEF in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary development-related research, as well as the establishment of graduate schools and international project management, to achieve its objectives.

Dr. Isimemen Osemwegie

Senior Researcher, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany - Associate Programme Officer, WABES

Stakeholder, IPBES & member, Open-ended Network (O-NET)

WABES is an initiative that brings together Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services experts and policy makers in West Africa with the objective of increasing their commitment to IPBES and catalyzing the conservation of biodiversity, and I just love being part of it.

Prof. Dr. Konate Souleymane

Director General, Research & Innovation (DGRI), Cote d'Ivoire, Director, African Center of Excellence (CEA-CCBAD) & Coordinator, SPIBES, University of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Cote d’Ivoire

WABES aims to develop the capacity of multi-level stakeholders to find solutions to a wide range of complex and challenging environmental issues through interdisciplinary approaches in West Africa through its MSc. Program, SPIBES. I am delighted to be a partner in this venture.

Dr. Jennifer Hauck

CEO, CoKnow Consulting, Germany

IPBES (Member of Expert Group, Coordinating lead author (CLA) & Review Editor)

WABES is a fantastic team and working on this innovative project and with the SPIBES Master students is a great joy. I hope to contribute to the project by supporting the exchange between WABES and IPBES by my extended involvement in various IPBES processes and activities.

Dr. Jan Henning Sommer

Senior Researcher, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany - Programme Officer, WABES

Member, IPBES capacity building task group & the Open-ended Stakeholder Network (O-NET)

Science-policy interfaces, SPIs, are crucial to translate scientific findings into implementable policy options. WABES is a sub-regional SPI that connects experts in West Africa and beyond who are willing to commit to the implementation of the IPBES work programme. Nature's contributions to people need to be considered in environmental policy as well as an indispensable necessity for sustainable development in other policy sectors.

Dr. Lisa Biber-Freudenberger

Senior Researcher, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany - Conceptualization & project advisor, WABES

Participant, multiple IPBES Plenaries & national IPBES Meetings

IPBES is one of the most important initiatives to support evidence-based decision-making on biodiversity and ecosystem services, but countries from many parts of the world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, have been left out because the political and economic circumstances have not allowed experts to participate as much as they should have. WABES is a project designed to improve this situation, and I am very pleased to be a team member of WABES, which will be a success story with the support and enthusiasm of our local partners.

Dr. KOUADIO Kouakou

Senior Lecturer & Researcher, University of Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Cote d’Ivoire

Assistant coordinator, SPIBES - WABES Graduate program, Cote d’Ivoire

The WABES MSc program, SPIBES, is a pioneer in building the sub-regional inter- and transdisciplinary capacity of the young generation to participate in biodiversity related science-policy interfaces at different scales (international, regional, sub-regional and national) and sustainable development pathways. As a climate scientist, I am interested in the impacts of Climate change on biodiversity.

Dr. Da Sylvestre Sié

Scientist, West African Science Service Center on Climate Change & Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), Burkina Faso - Co-ordinator, WABES Experts Network

Participant,  IPBES plenaries & Capacity Building forum, and member, Open-ended Network (O-NET)

The assimilation of biodiversity and ecosystems services conservation into development policies is a crucial step in improving human interactions with nature. This is what IPBES stands for. I am excited to be part of the WABES initiative, which aims to contribute to the progress of IPBES by supporting West Africa's commitment to the platform.

Abisha Mapendembe


WABES Focal Point for UNEP-WCMC, United Kingdom

UNEP-WCMC brings to the WABES initiative, a wealth of practical experience and expertise on, among other subjects; the Convention on Biological Diversity and IPBES processes; capacity building for national ecosystem assessments; and supporting the uptake of the assessments into decision making. As an expert in mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystem services into decision-making, I would promote the use of evaluation frameworks to incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem services aspects directly into national and sectoral policies, business and industry. I am delighted to be part of the WABES initiative – a great marriage for the greater good.