Assessing Nature? The Genesis of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

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Journal Article
Science, Technology and Society, 2013, 18 (1), pp. 9 - 27
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On the basis of an analysis of the creation of an Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), our contribution addresses the progressive stabilisation of an institutional design for assessing Nature. Social science literature has widely promoted norms of transparency, openness and participation regarding the implementation of new forms of environmental governance. But so far, few researchers have focused on the way this disclosure model now concretely weighs down on real institutions and institutionalisation processes. Moreover, little attention has been paid to the way this requirement can combine with other requirements or older models of action. In the case of IPBES, our goal is to question how the requirements of participation and transparency are put into practice. We will highlight the role of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) in the institutionalisation process of IPBES and see how the disclosure model is combined with other requirements that simultaneously involve the re-creation of `enclosure (that is, the need for academic soundscience, or the usual way in which things are done at UNEPthat is, bureaucratic practices). Our work is based on an empirical study including documentation analysis (official reports available on websites) and interviews
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