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Nature Panel seeks members – independent panel of scientists to promote biodiversity

Press release 2020-02-18 at 12:48

The mission of the Nature Panel will be clarified by dividing its tasks between the Finnish Nature Panel and the Finnish IPBES Working Group. The Finnish Nature Panel will be an independent scientific body that supports decision-making concerning biodiversity, instead of being composed of both scientists and public officials as it used to be.

This will turn the Nature Panel into a player similar to the Finnish Climate Panel that promotes dialogue between science and policy-making. In future, the Nature Panel will focus on compiling and producing scientific information concerning the state of biodiversity in support of making policy decisions in Finland.

Participating in the activities of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services IPBES will be the task of the IPBES Working Group. IPBES is an independent panel under the auspices of the UN that operates on the science-policy interface e.g. to produce scientific assessment reports on the state of our planet’s ecosystems. The Finnish IPBES Working Group is composed of representatives from the government ministries, research institutes and other key bodies in terms of nature conservation. The chair of the Finnish Nature Panel is appointed as a member to the IPBES Working Group to ensure good collaboration between the groups.

The funding of the Nature Panel and IPBES Working Group has also been significantly increased to enable them to work effectively.

“The Government wants its policies to be strongly based on knowledge. Finding solutions to the loss of biodiversity requires solid understanding of the impacts of different kinds of activities and measures on biodiversity. Now the Nature Panel has the opportunity to focus on producing information to support decision-making in Finland, and we have also provided adequate resources for this,” Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen says.

Members from different fields of science sought

The Ministry of the Environment has sent a request to the universities and research institutes, inviting them to propose members to the Nature Panel. The members should have a doctoral degree in a field of science relevant for the Panel’s tasks, an active role in research, the ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team and to communicate information between science and decision-making, and the possibility to take an active part in the Panel’s activities. Different fields of science should be broadly represented in the Panel. The deadline for submitting applications to the Ministry of the Environment is 20 March 2020.

The request to nominate a member and deputy member to the Finnish IPBES Working Group has been sent to the ministries, research institutes and representatives of other key bodies in terms of nature conservation. The deadline for submitting these proposals to the Ministry is the same, 20 March 2020.

There are plans to include the tasks of the Nature Panel to the Nature Conservation Act. The process to reform of the Nature Conservation Act was launched in the beginning of 2020 and it should be completed in the beginning of 2022.

Nature Panel first set up in 2015

The Ministry of the Environment appointed the first Nature Panel in 2015. Like that of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services IPBES, the aim has been to strengthen the interaction between scientific knowledge and policy decisions. The Nature Panel has participated in the activities of the IPBES and promoted and followed the involvement of scientists and other experts in IPBES’s work, both nationally and internationally.

Inquiries:

Suvi Borgström, Senior Officer, suvi.borgstrom@ym.fi, tel. +358 295 250 342

Antti Heikkinen, Special Adviser to the Minister, antti.heikkinen@ym.fi, tel. +358 50 348 1406