The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) held its 7th plenary session in Paris (France) during May 2019. The plenary marks the end of the first work programme and the release of the global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The important key messages from the global assessment are now more dire than those of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment from 2005, and its precursor, the Global Biodiversity Assessment of 1995. The plenary also considered the results of the review of IPBES, the future rolling work programme until 2030, and a budgetary framework. Using the review to reframe IPBES’ way of working, especially better policy delivery, will set it up for continued success.