GBIF Governance

How decisions, advice, management and funding are organized in GBIF

Detail, group photo of attendees at GB29, Comics Art Museum / , Brussels. Photo Lise Goudeseune / Belgian Biodiversity Platform, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The GBIF Governing Board

The Governing Board is the means by which GBIF Participants make collective decisions. Currently meeting once a year, it consists of one representative from each Participant country and organization.

Only representatives from Voting Participant Countries (those countries making a financial contribution to GBIF's central fund) have the right to vote on the Governing Board. Representatives from Associate Participants, both countries and organizations, are encouraged to attend the Governing Board and take part in its discussions, but may not vote. Further explanation of the different categories of GBIF membership can be found here.

The Governing Board has established Rules of Procedure, further elaborating on the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the structure of the board, meetings, requirements for participation and the establishment of subsidiary bodies.


Countries or organisations or other international bodies that have not signed the MOU, but are interested in sharing biodiversity data and follow the activities of GBIF, may be recognized by the GBIF Governing Board as observers, as well as former Participant Countries deciding to be observers.

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is invited to designate a non-voting representative to the Governing Board.

The Executive Committee

The Executive Committee operates on behalf of the Governing Board when the Board is not in session and within the areas of responsibility delegated to it by the Governing Board. Among its functions are monitoring of the performance of the Secretariat in carrying out the decisions taken by the Governing Board including implementation of the Strategic Plan and the Work Programme, and management of the budget.

More information can be found in the Executive Committee's Terms of Reference, and contact details are available in the Directory.

Meetings of the Governing Board

The Governing Board currently meets annually in a Participant country that offers to host it. The meeting is organized by the Secretariat in collaboration with the hosting country. The formal proceedings of the Board are associated with a number of other events at the same location, including meetings of nodes, standing committees, training events and the annual Science Symposium.

Information about upcoming and previous meetings can found in Events. Access to meeting documents is available to official delegates.

GBIF's standing committees

As required under its rules of procedure, the GBIF Governing Board has set up three standing committees to act as advisory bodies, each with its own terms of reference and with its officers and membership elected by the Governing Board. They are:

The functions and membership of each committee are described in the Directory above.

GBIF's Task Groups

Following the advice of the GBIF Science Committee, the GBIF Secretariat periodically establishes ad hoc task groups bringing together global experts panels reflecting diverse viewpoints and expertise to help the network address critical issues and topics related to biodiversity data.