Call for proposals: Analysis of biodiversity data needs in the post-2020 framework

Research contractor to carry out a nine-month fixed-term assignment analysing primary biodiversity data needs for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework

Pallas' sailer (Neptis sappho), observed in Kunming, China, 23 October 2019. Photo by benanna via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

The GBIF Secretariat seeks applications to carry out an analysis of the anticipated contributions of primary biodiversity data to the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

This work will involve working with the Secretariat to:

  1. Develop, refine and agree upon the optimal methodology and research questions for the analysis
  2. Analyse the draft framework, its targets and potential indicators, and identify the likely direct and indirect dependencies on primary biodiversity data underlying them
  3. Convene a stakeholder workshop to obtain a shared vision for GBIF and relevant partners on how best to support the framework’s needs for primary biodiversity data

For purposes of this work, we define 'primary biodiversity data' as: digital text or multimedia objects detailing facts about the occurrence of organisms in space and time.


GBIF—the Global Biodiversity Information Facility—is an international network and research infrastructure funded by the world’s governments and aimed at providing anyone, anywhere open access to data about all types of life on Earth. Coordinated through its Secretariat in Copenhagen, the GBIF network of participating countries and organizations, working through participant nodes, provides data-holding institutions around the world with common standards and open-source tools that enable them to share information about where and when species have been recorded. GBIF has aggregated to date nearly 1.4 billion occurrence records from our network; however, the data is not evenly distributed across the globe.

This primary biodiversity data plays a critical role in generating information resources to guide the decision-making process and to monitor progress towards meeting international commitments under the CBD and other global agreements. Growth in species occurrence records accessible through GBIF data has already served as an indicator for tracking progress towards Target 19 of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. In addition, GBIF-mediated data also contributes to several other indicators that cover progress towards Aichi targets, including Target 5 (habitat loss and degradation), Target 9 (invasive alien species), Target 11 (protected areas), Target 12 (extinction risk) and Target 13 (genetic diversity).

At the 15th meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties in October, 2020 in Kunming, China (COP15), a new post-2020 framework of goals and targets will be agreed upon to achieve the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity of a world living in harmony with nature. With the development of new goals and targets—and the associated need for robust indicators—comes the opportunity for GBIF and the alliance for biodiversity knowledge to ensure that the primary data and associated tools available for implementation of the framework are timely and relevant.

The study

The commissioned study would include the following components:

  • A review of historic inputs of primary biodiversity data into CBD processes, both direct and indirect. This review will include use of primary biodiversity data in existing indicators and in relevant research and assessments (for example through IPBES and the Global Biodiversity Outlooks).
  • A landscaping of known projects or products, whether recently released or under development, that make use of primary biodiversity data to generate indicators or information tools to support the post-2020 Biodiversity Framework.
  • A review of the various sources of primary biodiversity data used in indicators and other information products, with a view to identifying overlaps and potential for better integration.
  • An analysis of the likely dependencies on primary biodiversity data within the post-2020 biodiversity framework, as far as they are evident within the study period, with conclusions on major gaps that need to be filled in terms of data coverage and other components including formats, quality control and methods of delivery.

The study will provide the basis for a workshop (either in-person or virtual), coordinated by the contractor with support from GBIF Secretariat, aimed at bringing in key partners to develop a global consensus vision for primary biodiversity data beyond 2020. The timeframe for this event will be either late 2020 or early 2021. GBIF Secretariat will provide support in developing methodologies and processes, reviewing of deliverables and supporting workshop organization.

The contractor may be requested to attend one or more of the meetings leading up to COP15, such as the 3rd meeting of the Open Ended Working Group on the post-2020 biodiversity framework (in Cali, Colombia between 24-29 July) and potentially COP15 itself. GBIF will cover expenses relating to such attendance separately from the contract funds.

Key deliverables of the study will be a document positioning GBIF’s place in the post-2020 framework, and a set of recommendations for primary biodiversity data looking forward in the post-2020 framework.

The ideal contractor would have:

  • An academic background in biodiversity science, biodiversity informatics or biodiversity policy
  • Understanding of the role and mission of GBIF and its policy users
  • Familiarity with the role of biodiversity data, particularly GBIF-mediated data, within the CBD context as well as other processes including the Sustainable Development Goals and Essential Biodiversity Variable (EBVs).
  • A previous track record and experience of developing indicators and/or models relevant to biodiversity targets and an understanding of CBD processes
  • Experience of writing and publishing reports and/or research papers
  • Experience of leading and facilitating workshops


Task Date
Deadline for proposal submission 30 March 2020
Expected start of contract 1 June 2020 - 1 March 2021
Duration of the contract Nine (9) months
Delivery of first draft of report 30 November 2020
Delivery of final draft By the end of contract: 1 March 2021


It is expected that the work is carried out at the home base of the selected candidate.


The contract is paid by a fee of €30,000 from the GBIF Secretariat in three installments. Additional funds have been allocated for workshop costs.

Application procedure

Applications should be in English and include:

  1. A summary of the approach you will take to the work, including a potential outline for the
    report (no more than two pages inclusive of possible schemas)
  2. A full CV or similar, including list of publications
  3. Examples and other means of demonstration of your fit to the task where you led or
    actively participated in the past five years that are relevant to this proposal.

Submit your proposal to by 30 March 2020. Enquiries concerning the contract can be addressed to Andrew Rodrigues, Programme Officer for Participation and Engagement.