Creating synergy between national GBIF node and IPBES focal point

Example by the Belgian national node on integrating GBIF and IPBES activities into a larger science policy interface

Executive secretary of IPBES, Anne Larigauderie and deputy director of GBIF, Tim Hirsch at the MoU signing ceremony in Medellín, Colombia. Photo courtesy of IPBES.

The Belgian Biodiversity Platform is a science-policy interface providing services to the Belgian scientific community engaged in biodiversity research, and to policy-makers as well as practitioners. Hosting both the IPBES national focal point and the national GBIF node, the Belgian Biodiversity Platform plays a privileged role in implementing the GBIF-IPBES MoU.

The IPBES assessments are summarizing existing knowledge and the underlying data. The synergy between the two national focal points (GBIF and IPBES) appeared so clearly that Belgium decided to have them under the same structure.

"Through our daily work, and monthly coordination meetings, our respective teams not only learn and benefit from each other but also nicely complement each other."

The key benefits of this situation in Belgium are:

  • Mutual understanding of the topics and their evolutions
  • Overlapping of the national scientific communities (GBIF and IPBES)
  • Data mobilization strategy taking into account global policy needs, and knowledge gaps identified through the assessments
  • Facilitating the access of biodiversity data relevant to IPBES Assessments
  • Raising awareness about the importance of free and open data to IPBES assessments

Integrating a GBIF node and IPBES National Focal Point into a larger science policy interface platform offers a more coherent, stable and efficient structure allowing timely responses to policy needs, both at the national, regional and global level. Setting up such a Platform requires recurrent funding and dedicated people who are open to learn from each other, despite different educational backgrounds and/or expertise. Exchanging information on a regular basis helps to understand the goals, practices and needs of each initiative.

"Our Platform is also strongly engaged in other initiatives contributing to catalysing new knowledge (like the BiodivERsA Partnership) which further reinforces the linkages and synergies between GBIF and IPBES."


IPBES Focal Point Dr Hilde EGGERMONT

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  • GBIF network