The consultative process towards an IMOSEB was set up in 2006 in response to a call from the international scientific community in 2005 for a consultation on a new mechanism which would provide independent and regular scientific expertise on biodiversity. The idea received strong political backing from President Jacques Chirac and the French government, who funded the consultative process to assess the need, scope and possible forms of an IMOSEB. The consultative process has involved several regional workshops, an online questionnaire and the production of a needs and options document.
In our response we provide general support for the IMOSEB process and in particular the important role of independent scientific advice in supporting action to address the continuing loss and deterioration of biodiversity. We encourage the Executive Committee to ensure that the objectives of any new mechanism(s) are clearly defined and agreed before deciding what the mechanism should be. We suggest that the priorities for any new mechanism tasked with focusing on international biodiversity needs should be;
- To provide an independent, authoritative scientific voice on international biodiversity issues;
- To give regular assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem science;
- To address emerging issues of importance to biodiversity; and
- To increase the profile of the biodiversity issue and of biodiversity science and experts.
The response notes the important supporting role that existing scientific networks can play in defining the objectives of any new mechanism and in supporting it once established. We stress that the success of any new international mechanism will depend on strong political backing.