National Focal Point
Dr. Hilde Eggermont, Belgian Biodiversity Platform – Belgian Science Policy Office
Secondary National Focal Point
Anna Heck, Belgian Biodiversity Platform - Research Institute Nature and Forest
HOW BELGIUM IS ORGANISED TO GET ENGAGED IN IPBES?
The Belgian Biodiversity Platform (BBPf) is a biodiversity information and communication initiative funded and administrated by BELSPO (Belgian Science policy Office). It acts as a catalyser to improve the scientific process through innovative approaches (open science, open data, transdisciplinarity, stakeholder involvement), and serves as a facilitator between biodiversity researchers, policy, and practice. To achieve this goal, the BBPf operates along four axes: answering policy needs, catalysing the improvement of the research process, knowledge interfacing and sharing, and enabling data publication and use.
The BBPf has been involved in IPBES negotiations since the very beginning at the “Biodiversity Science and Governance” meeting in Paris, France, in 2005. It hosts the Belgian Focal Point to IPBES (for activities see section 4.)
The Belgian Focal Point works in close consultation with the BBPf Steering Committee, the Steering Committee Biodiversity Convention, and the Steering Committee Nature of the Coordinating Committee for International Environmental Policy (CCIEP).
Nomination of Experts
Call for experts are spread by the BBPf through various channels/ mailing lists reaching out to a wide range of stakeholders. The BBPf subsequently sifts the nominations and recommends a final list of expert nominations for government endorsement (through the afore-mentioned Steering Committees, by consensus) for submission to the IPBES Secretariat. The following criteria are applied to nominations seeking endorsement:
Similar to the majority of EU Member States, the following criterion must apply to nominations seeking endorsement:
- Scientific/technical expertise demonstrated through publication record in a discipline and subject relevant to the work programme deliverable, or demonstrable practical expertise of relevance to the work programme deliverable;
In addition, the following criteria may have additional value:
- Representation of institutions/networks that could have a significant role in enabling delivery of the IPBES work programme.
- Knowledge of user needs of government, voluntary or business sectors relevant to the assessment products proposed.
- Experience of collaboration and negotiation in large/international programmes or networks.
We aim (as far as possible) at balance by gender and multi-disciplinarity.
Procedure of funding for selected candidates
Experts (Belgians and other nationals) nominated by Belgium and selected by the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel should contact the Belgian Focal Point for financial support. They are eligible to receive financial support for travel and accommodation if they fulfil the following criteria:
They have received an official invitation letter from the IPBES to attend the IPBES expert meeting.
They can provide evidence that they could not find other funding sources.
They are insured via their institution to attend an expert meeting abroad (travel insurance).
The Belgian Focal Point transfers the request to the affiliated institutions asking to cover the expenses. If this is not possible, the Focal Point will transfer the request to the concerned federal and regional administrations in the BBPf Steering Committee who will analyse the dossier and decide on the support mechanism (full or partial coverage of the travel/accommodation costs).
An expert eligible for financial support is requested to follow the administrative procedures for reimbursement of the respective administration. Only travel and accommodation costs are covered (fully or partially). An expert’s working time invested in the development of an IPBES reports is not paid. Non-residents would not be eligible for travel support.
If the available budget permits, and if above-mentioned criteria are met, Belgium could also consider supporting:
Belgian nationals, who were nominated by the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel via other nomination lists
Promotion of young researchers (‘early career scientists’)
CONTRIBUTION (TYPE OF ACTIVITIES) TO THE IPBES WORK PROGRAMME
Activities consist in recruiting and selecting experts, follow-up of (draft) reports and deliverables, preparing Belgian and European positions for IPBES plenary meetings and leading the Belgian delegation, organising awareness activities (at least two per year), facilitating stakeholder discussions at international fora, and involving the Belgian stakeholders in the initiative, mainly through so-called Communities of Practice (e.g. Belgian Ecosystem Services; Belgian Forum for Invasive Alien Species; Biodiversity & Health).
SPECIFIC PROJECTS: E.G. CAPACITY BUILDING PROJECTS
The Belgian focal point closely collaborates with CEBioS, a centre of excellence carrying out capacity building for partners of the Belgian cooperation in the field of biodiversity conservation and sustainable management linked to poverty eradication.
TYPE OF ENGAGEMENT WITH STAKEHOLDERS
We engage with various stakeholders, mainly through the animation of so-called Communities of Practice. These are interdisciplinary groups of experts (scientist, policy makers, and other stakeholders) who network and collaborate on topical issues related to biodiversity research. There are currently three topical areas established: Ecosystem Services, Invasive Species and Public Health. These communities are addressed for the various requests coming from the Secretariat (call for experts, review of draft documents etc.) and for defining Belgian positions for Plenary discussion items. At the international level, we engage with stakeholders through the co-organisation of Pan-European Stakeholder Consultation (PESC) meetings, and one-by-one interactions with targeted groups of stakeholders. The latter is mainly done for expert recruitment and balancing Belgian positions for Plenary agenda items.