In the wake of controversies surrounding both the legitimacy and effectiveness of intergovernmental expert organisations, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was established in 2012 as a new intergovernmental expert organisation with the explicit mandate to move beyond ‘one-size-fits-it-all’ approaches. During its first eight years of operating, this attempt to ‘do different’ has made IPBES develop into a space for individual, experiential, and organisational learning and has made significant progress towards becoming a ‘learning organisation’. However, learning can take different forms. Looking towards the future development of IPBES, the importance of transformative learning and the need to establish institutional reflexive processes in which this transformative learning can take place will be critical. IPBES has a number of novel features, three key features facilitating transformative learning are its ambitious principles and inclusive approach to a wide range expertise and knowledges, its fellowship programme, and commitment to a transparent and on-going review process. While IPBES’ social organisation is significantly different from previous initiatives and has created opportunities for transformative learning, not all learning and all changes that have taken place have been reflexive and some innovative features also have had unintended consequences for the results of the learning activities. As a result, to live up to its ambitions of contributing to positive and transformative societal and environmental change, IPBES must strengthen its capacity for transformative learning. Some proposals on how to systemise it further are outlined.
- Science-policy interface