BID programme funds 19 new projects in sub-Saharan Africa

European Union extends support of Biodiversity Information for Development, which receives additional investment from JRS Biodiversity Foundation

Shepherds tree (Boscia albitrunca), Namibia. Photo 2021 Nick Helme via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The GBIF Secretariat has announced the selection of a set of 18 projects to receive funding through its Biodiversity Information for Development programme. Led by institutions representing 13 countries, the two-year projects will mobilize policy-relevant biodiversity data across a range of topics including human health, agriculture and food security, protected areas, threatened species and collections digitization.

Funding allocated for the projects totals €978,119, with 14 projects receiving €567,119 from the European Union, previously BID's sole funder. Another €411,000 in funding provided by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation will be allocated to support an additional five projects.

“Improving the linkages between science and policy is essential for raising the effectiveness of our biodiversity conservation efforts," said Florence Van Houtte, international cooperation official for biodiversity at the European Commission Directorate-General for International Partnerships. "We are encouraged to see so many African countries and institutions stepping up their capacity in that field as well as the active contributions that the BID programme is making to this dynamic community.”

Taken together, the projects will leverage €1.1 million in matching funds, while the addition of first-time grantees from Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Seychelles raise the total number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa represented in BID to 31.

This round of grants supports biodiversity data mobilization at regional (3), national (6) and institutional (5) levels as well as a new grant type for the programme. Five data-use grants will build on existing relationships between data-holding institutions and decision-makers to provide data solutions responding to specific policy needs. Collectively these projects will advance the goals of the BID programme by increasing the availability and use of biodiversity information in research and policy for sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

"The JRS Biodiversity Foundation is proud to support the funding of five outstanding BID projects that advance open-source informatics in sub-Saharan Africa," said JRS executive director Matthew Cassetta. "The complementarity of our objectives with those of GBIF and the European Union represents a remarkable convergence of purposes to greatly expand scientific knowledge platforms in Africa. We are certain that the investment of JRS and our partners in critical capacity-building and biodiversity information will be instrumental to African researchers and policy makers as they take action safeguard the invaluable natural wealth of the continent."

"We are delighted to welcome the JRS Biodiversity Foundation as a partner in BID," said Joe Miller, GBIF executive secretary. "Their long history of support of biodiversity informatics in Africa combined with additional funding from the European Union has enabled us to expand the programme and fund more proposals in this round of grants—something we hope further partnerships will build on in coming years."

An expert panel selected these projects during the course of a two-step process, which initially drew 215 concept notes from 39 of the 48 eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The final choices were made from a slate of 34 applicants from 20 countries invited to submit full proposals.

The projects will build on the impact of BID’s first phase, which mobilized more than 1.3 million records relevant to the regions’ priority policy needs and established communities of practice across sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific thanks to a rigorous, replicable training curriculum.

The projects will kick off this week with a regional workshop on data publication, and an invitation-only regional training workshop for coordinators of data-use projects will follow on 27 May 2021. The GBIF Secretariat expects to announce the selection of additional sets of projects in the Caribbean and Pacific later this summer.

BID projects funded by the European Union

Project name Lead organization Country
Data use to inform decisions on biodiversity conservation and public health in Benin University of Abomey-Calavi, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences Benin
Enhancing the capacity of civil-society organizations to create and contribute towards a unified marine turtle database in Cameroon Reseau des Acteurs de la Sauvegarde des Tortues Marines en Afrique Centrale Cameroon
Mobilization and strengthening of biodiversity data for conservation to support sustainable development in Côte d'Ivoire Centre National de Floristique Côte d'Ivoire
Digitization of Gabon biodiversity collections and digital occurrence records to create a national biodiversity database National School of Water and Forests Gabon
Capacity development for mobilization and use of data on endangered bird species in Kenya Strathmore University Kenya
Mobilizing the Namibian faunal and floral collections and improving national open data engagement National Museum of Namibia Namibia
Implementation of the biodiversity information and data system for coastal ecosystems in Nigeria Center for Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Management, University of Lagos Nigeria
Expanding the visibility of the Lagos Herbarium through digitization and mobilization of plant specimen data Department of Botany, University of Lagos Nigeria
Unlocking data on plant biodiversity for decision-making in São Tomé and Príncipe Centro Investigação Agronómica e Tecnológica de STP São Tomé and Príncipe
Mainstreaming recent species and ecosystem distribution data into Seychelles Key Biodiversity Areas assessments Plant Conservation Action Group Seychelles
Enhancing accessibility of forest flora data in Tanzania Tanzania Forestry Research Institute Tanzania
Progress towards a regional data platform of West and Central African Herbaria GBIF Togo & University of Lome Togo
Advancing freshwater biodiversity data and information access, utility and relevance for conservation decision making in Uganda National Fisheries Resources Research Institute Uganda
Biodiversity data in support of climate action, life on earth and sustainable food and feed: Reptiles and arachnids found in Protected Areas and edible insect fauna in Zimbabwe Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe Zimbabwe

BID projects funded by JRS Biodiversity Foundation

Project name Lead organization Country
Mobilization and use of botanical data as decision-making tools in Gabon Institut de Pharmacopée et de Médecine Traditionnelle Gabon
Integrating ecosystem and biodiversity data to assist national development planning Conservation Alliance International Ghana
Raising the profile of data for the conservation of four forested African landscapes A Rocha Kenya Kenya
African Bird Atlas Project: Mapping the distribution of Africa's birds A. P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute Nigeria
Mainstreaming freshwater invertebrates biodiversity data into government decision-making The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology Tanzania

 This programme is funded by the European Union.

 This programme is funded by JRS Biodiversity Foundation.