FAQ

The following are a selection of frequently asked questions on the various elements of BES-Net.

The Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net) is a capacity sharing “network of networks” that promotes dialogue among science, policy and practice for more effective management of biodiversity and ecosystems, contributing to long-term human well-being and sustainable development.

The Network is supported by face-to-face capacity building activities (the BES-Net Trialogues), a matchmaking facility, and a cutting-edge web portal – with all components mutually reinforcing. 

BES-Net is hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented through partnerships with the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the Norwegian Environment Agency and SwedBio at the Stockholm Resilience Centre

Through BES-Net, UNDP contributes to the capacity building work of the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).  BES-Net facilitates and promotes dialogue on themes echoing the IPBES global assessments, and in key areas of UNDP’s work on biodiversity and ecosystems management.

BES-Net harnesses UNDP’s capacity building expertise at the country level, capitalizes on the accumulated knowledge of best practices and challenges in the field, and brings practitioners into the science-policy arena.

In implementing its mandate, BES-Net follows an inclusive approach, collaborating with relevant Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and drawing on the support of many other partner organizations.

For more information about what BES-Net is and what activities it entails, please see the About section of our web-portal.

The Convention on Biological Diversity defines Biological Diversity as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems” and includes genetic diversity.
An ecosystem is a dynamic complex of plants, animals, and micro-organisms communities and the non-living environment interacting as a functional unit.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment defines ecosystem services as the benefits (and occasionally disbenefits) that people obtain from ecosystems.

They include the following:

  • provisioning services such as supply of food, water, timber and fibre
  • regulating services such as the regulation of climate, floods, disease, wastes and water quality
  • cultural services such as recreational, aesthetic, and spiritual benefits
  • supporting services such as soil formation, photosynthesis and nutrient cycling.

See a full list of ecosystem services, as defined by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity or “TEEB” initiative.

The IPBES Conceptual Framework models in a simplified way the complex interactions between the natural world and human societies, and recognizes and considers a range of knowledge systems. 

The BES-Net concept stemmed from UNDP’s commitment to supporting countries manage their biodiversity and ecosystems for development, and a specific call by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) for UNDP to support the capacity building work of IPBES. BES- Net was developed with inputs from multiple stakeholders and in response to requests from Member States, in particular developing countries. BES-Net also responds to capacity building needs in key areas of UNDP’s work on biodiversity and ecosystems management.

In addressing these needs, BES-Net follows an inclusive approach, collaborating with relevant Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and drawing on the support of many other partner organizations.

Through partnerships with the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the Norwegian Environment Agency and SwedBio at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, UNDP implements BES-Net, to help countries tackle science-policy questions critical to effective management of biodiversity and ecosystems worldwide, thereby contributing to long-term human well-being and sustainable development.

The commitment of UNDP to supporting IPBES is set out in its biodiversity strategy, UNDP’s Biodiversity and Ecosystems Global Framework 2012-2020, which was approved by the UNDP Executive Group in September 2012. This agreed strategy constitutes the basis for UNDP support for the development and hosting of the BES-Net Platform. This support, reflected in the IPBES collaborative partnership arrangement with UN Environment, FAO, UNESCO and UNDP, is aligned with UNDP’s mission to help countries achieve the simultaneous eradication of poverty and significant reduction of inequalities and exclusion.

Through BES-Net, UNDP contributes its capacity building expertise at the country level, capitalize on the accumulated knowledge of best practices and challenges in the field, and bring practitioners into the science-policy arena.

The emergence of the new post 2015 development agenda and the successful positioning of IPBES as as the leading intergovernmental body for assessing the state of the planet's biodiversity, its ecosystems and the essential services they provide to society, provide an opportunity to complement the core work of IPBES and support its capacity building efforts by promoting informal dialogue between science, policy and practice through BES-Net. BES-Net activities also go beyond the current IPBES work programme and support UNDP’s wider agenda and partner’s needs in the field of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

BES-Net develops and manages a capacity building “network of networks” made up of policymakers, scientists/knowledge holders, and practitioners, working in the field of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

In implementing its mandate, BES-Net follows an inclusive approach, collaborating with relevant Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and drawing on the support of many other partner organisations and individual users of the BES-Net web portal.

BES-Net intends to work in synergy with all partners, and avoid duplication of work. This includes using the BES-Net web portal to drive traffic to partner organisations' websites where and highlighting the work they are doing, as well as the data and knowledge they can provide.

BES-Net is guided in its work by an Advisory Committee, composed of UNDP, the BES-Net donors and key partners involved in the IPBES capacity building work.

The face-to-face capacity building activities – the BES-Net “Trialogues” – are multi-stakeholder dialogues focusing on specific policy questions at the national and regional levels. By facilitating fruitful discussions among the three BES-Net communities of policy, science/knowledge holders and practice, the trialogues will contribute to addressing specific policy issues to help unlock shifts in the development trajectory of societies towards sustainability.

The first round of BES-Net Trialogues, funded by the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) will focus on specific science-policy questions of relevance to IPBES and will foster meaningful discussions leading to sound policy recommendations.

Intensive preparation, organization and follow-up, as well as innovative facilitation techniques, will ensure successful capacity building of individuals and participants as a group.

These events will also bring products and tools, such as those produced by IPBES, to the country level and will use the content of the web-portal and its users as resources.

The trialogues, as stated by the Africa group during the IPBES-3 plenary, are critical to enhancing the capacity of developing countries as a complement to online activities. They will provide unique opportunities for countries and regions to discuss a specific policy issue of direct relevance to their context.

By fostering interactions between participants, the events should promote longer-term dialogue between participants, hereby strengthening the science-policy-practice interface.

For more information, please consult the BES-Net Concept Note.

Please consult the BES-Net web portal user's guide, contact one of our administrators through the live chat (their profile is marked with an A) or contact us using the contact form.

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