Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

UN Biodiversity Officials Fail Transparency Test

IPBES provides no CVs for most members of its influential panel.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is a clone of the IPCC, the UN’s climate body. But there are some notable differences.

We’re told that a great deal of power resides with the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP), which currently consists of 28 individuals. These are the people who, for example, decide which international scholars will be assigned to discuss which topics within the pages of official IPBES reports.

To its credit, that entity’s website has been designed to provide the CV of everyone who sits on this panel. Rather than taking the UN’s word for it that these are world class experts, the public is given the opportunity to examine their credentials firsthand.

But saying you believe in transparency is different from acting like it. If organizations aren’t living up to the standards they’ve set for themselves, that’s worth noticing.

Last week was hugely important for the IPBES – it sought and received massive international media coverage. Despite this, it utterly failed its own transparency test. The CVs of most MEP members aren’t actually available online.
6 out of 8 are missing for those who represent Latin American and Caribbean states.

3 out of 5 are missing for those who represent African states.

3 out of 5 are missing for those who represent Asia-Pacific states.

3 out of 5 are missing for those who represent ‘Western European and other states.’

Only in the case of the experts from Eastern European countries are all 5 CVs provided.

Final score: 13 out of 28 – or 46%. That’s what we call a failing grade.


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  • In fairness, an backup indicates that CVs were available for all 25 members of the MEP back in February 2016
  • Ditto for all 20 members in February 2017.
  • But the composition of this panel keeps changing. By July 2017 one CV out of 25 was unavailable. By October 2018, 12 out of 23 were missing.
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