Uzbekistan becomes voting member of GBIF

Central Asian republic—the first country in the region to join the network—upgrades its status under the GBIF Memorandum of Understanding

Yangiabad, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Photo by Dmitry Schigel taken near Yangiabad, Uzbekistan.

Elevating its commitment to free and open biodiversity data, The Republic of Uzbekistan has upgraded its GBIF membership from associate to full voting participant. Originally joining GBIF as a formal participant in 2020, Uzbekistan is not only the first voting participant in Central Asia, but was also the first country in the region to become a member.

The re-signing of the GBIF Memorandum of Understanding that officially marked the switch from associate to voting status occurred on 23 April during a ceremony in Yangiabad, Uzbekistan, at the hand of Academician Komiljon Tojibaev, Director General of the Institute of Botany at the Academy of Sciences and GBIF Head of Delegation of Uzbekistan.

"Uzbekistan is committed to open sharing of biodiversity data from all available sources in the country, Tojibaev said. "GBIF helps us fullfil this important goal, and we wish to further our involvement and support of the activities of the network, both in our region and globally."

"We are extremely pleased to welcome Uzbekistan as a full voting member of GBIF," says Joe Miller, executive secretary of GBIF. "Taking a leading role in the region, Uzbekistan is an important partner for filling data gaps in Central Asia."

Since becoming a member of GBIF in 2020, the node has launched an instance of the Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT), hosted by GBIF, dedicated to Uzbek biodiversity datasets. This IPT now serves 14 datasets of plants, fungi and animals published mainly by researchers at the Institute of Botany. To further increase engagement with data holders and users, Uzbekistan is also working on a new national data portal via the GBIF hosted portal programme.

An Uzbekistan-led project funded by the GBIF Capacity Enhancement Support Programme (CESP) in 2023 has supported collaboration with neighbouring Tajikistan to enhance biodiversity data publication, leading to the publication of 12 datasets, including specimen records from four herbaria.

Data publication from Uzbekistan is founded in botany with the national node based at the Institute of Botany of the Academy of Sciences. The activities of the node, however, are expanding beyond herbaria, and data sources also include the Institute of the Gene Pool of Plants and Animals, as well as monitoring efforts in protected areas, such as the Surhanskiy State and Nurata Nature Reserves.