This inception workshop for the BIFA project, 'Mobilizing occurrence data of alien and endemic plant species of Nepal', was held on the 6th of July 2018 at the Department of Plant Resources in Thapathali, Kathmandu. The workshop was arranged as a joint effort between The Central Department of Botany at Tribhuvan University and the Department of Plant Resources in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The workshop set out to achieve the following objectives:
- To inform stakeholders about the state of Nepalese biodiversity data publication in the GBIF network.
- To inform the objectives, activities and output/outcome of the BIFA-funded project in Nepal
- To seek feedback and comment from all stakeholders involved in biodiversity conservation and management in Nepal
- To share experiences of biodiversity data management in Nepal
Workshop activities were divided into three sessions comprising of inaugural speeches, a technical session and an opportunity for feedback and reflection.
The inaugural session highlighted the project objectives and the activities which will follow. Emphasis was also placed on the need for publishing biodiversity data in Nepal and the role of the international organisations in the preparation and publication of databases concerning Nepalese plant diversity.
A second session regarding technical elements was arranged with four presentations. This included presentations on
- Mobilising occurrence data of alien and endemic plant species of Nepal
- Digitisation at the National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories (KATH): Preservation and Utilization
- Databasing and digitisation of Herbarium at Tribhuvan University Central Herbarium (TUCH)
- Bioinformatics: the changing landscape for decision-making in conservation.
In the concluding session, the presentation of technical papers were followed by open discussion among the participants. This discussion led to a call for formal collaboration between stakeholders working with conservation and biodiversity issues in Nepal. This session also provided an opportunity for the representatives from government organisations to express commitments to support the project and related efforts in the country. The discussion was closed with a speech from the project chair requesting support for the BIFA project and greater collaboration in the long-term to mobilise occurrence data on endemic and alien species in Nepal.