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The National Academy of Sciences hosted the U.S. National Committee for DIVERSITAS, an international program of biodiversity science. As of January 1, 2015, DIVERSITAS activities have been transferred to ICSU's Future Earth Program.

diversitasEstablished in 1991 as an international program to address broad and complex issues related to global biodiversity, DIVERSITAS sought to promote biodiversity research as an integrated science combining expertise in biology, ecology, geology, and the social sciences.  The program was sponsored by four organizations: the International Council for Science (ICSU), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), and the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE).  The four core projects of DIVERSITAS were bioDISCOVERY, bioGENESIS, ecoSERVICES, and bioSUSTAINABILITY.


Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services on the Global Stage: IPBES and You
The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was established in April 2012, as an independent intergovernmental body open to all member countries of the United Nations. Its members are committed to building IPBES as the leading intergovernmental body for assessing the state of the planet's biodiversity, its ecosystems, and the essential services they provide to society. The first IPBES plenary was held on the site of its Secretariat, Bonn, Germany, in January 2013. 
In order to encourage the engagement of the U.S. scientific community, the session "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services on the Global Stage: IPBES and You" was held on August 7, 2013 at the Ecological Society of America Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The session speakers discussed the changing landscape in global environmental science initiatives, presented the latest updates in the IPBES process, and shared current and future opportunities for input. In addition, they discussed ways to broadly engage the U.S scientific community and other stakeholders, such as business coalitions and the engineering community.

Harold Mooney, Stanford University
Douglas Beard, U.S. Geological Survey
Heather Tallis, The Nature Conservancy

Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin (2011)
The two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, February 12, 2009, occurred at a critical time for the United States and the world. In honor of Darwin's birthday, an NRC-appointed committee, under the auspices of the USNC/DIVERSITAS, convened “Twenty-first Century Ecosystems: Systemic Risk and the Public Good,” a symposium on the Science and Policy for Managing the Living World Two Centuries after the birth of Charles Darwin on February 11-12, 2009. The purpose of the symposium was to capture some of the current excitement and recent progress in scientific understanding of ecosystems, from the microbial to the global level, while also highlighting how improved understanding can be applied to important policy issues that have broad biodiversity and ecosystem effects. The aim was to help inform new policy approaches that could satisfy human needs while also maintaining the integrity of the goods and services provided by biodiversity and ecosystems over both the short and the long terms.

View symposium agenda and watch presentations. To purchase the symposium report, or to download a free PDF, please visit the National Academies Press.

Bringing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Science to Global Policy Making
At the August 2012 Ecological Society of America (ESA) Conference, the USNC DIVERSITAS organized a session to introduce the IPBES to the segment of the scientific community represented by ESA, and to begin to engage them in contributing to this important science-policy initiative. Like IPCC, it was established with the intention of ensuring that the best available science is made available to Governments and decision makers. This session was designed to both educate and update the ESA community on the plans for the IPBES and explore opportunities for involving individuals from that community in the IPBES assessment process. During this meeting, the committee also met with affiliates of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to discuss: the final opearational design of IPBES, the core functions of the work program, funding, scientific safeguards and practices, and the next steps. To view a summary of the meeting, please visit here.

IPBES Public Forum, Alfred Nobel Hall of the House of Sweden, Washington DC

The IPBES is designed to be an interface between the global scientific community and policymakers that aims at building capacity for and strengthening the use of science in policymaking. This November 2011 public forum was designed to inform and update the Washington science and policy communities on the rationale and plans for the IPBES, describe the progress at the first IPBES plenary session, and explore opportunities for scientists, scientific societies, and NGOs to contribute to both the shaping and the execution of IPBES, in order to maximize its value for both scientific understanding and policy formulation. DIVERSITAS was designated by ICSU to represent the science community in those sessions. The U.S. National Committee for DIVERSITAS, chaired by Peter Raven, was funded by NSF to work with relevant scientific organizations to educate and engage the U.S. science community with regard to the IPBES.
  External Links  
Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosytem Services
DIVERSITAS International Website


Related Publications
International Organizations and Biodiversity

The Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Science-Policy Interface 

Biodiversity improves water quality through niche partitioning


Ester Sztein, Assistant Director
Pam Gamble, Administrative Associate

This material is based upon work that was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number EF-1148835. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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