GBIF and EU to improve biodiversity information for developing countries

The European Union and GBIF have launched a four-year, €3.9 million project aimed at increasing the amount of biodiversity information available for developing countries.

The European Union (EU) and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) have launched a four-year €3.9 million project aimed at increasing the amount of biodiversity information available for developing countries.

GBIF’s Biodiversity Information for Development (BID) will focus on enhancing capacity and mobilizing data from countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. By gathering information relevant for policymakers, BID will enable those countries to meet key policy needs and commitments under intergovernmental processes like the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). BID will also help the European Union fulfil the commitments made to avert global biodiversity loss.

BID’s objective is to improve the management of natural capital in these regions, enabling biodiversity information to be used as evidence for decisions and thus support human well-being.

The funding will support two specific areas of activity. First, GBIF will identify needs and priorities for biodiversity information for each target region through studies, workshops and assessment of existing capacity. Second, BID’s individual projects will expand on existing biodiversity information networks and implement best practices in gathering and sharing policy-relevant biodiversity information in decision-making.

BID will initially focus on Africa, and the project’s kick-off meeting is planned as part of a regional event in Cape Town in May. ‘Africa Rising: Mobilising Biodiversity Data for Sustainable Development’ will bring together policy makers and a range of experts from across Africa to accelerate regional understanding of the value of biodiversity data in decision making, and the opportunities that exist to strengthen capacity in mobilizing such data for universal access and use. BID will subsequently work with partners in the Caribbean and Pacific regions to develop priorities for biodiversity information and will issue calls for proposals at a later stage of the project.

BID comes under the umbrella of the EU Biodiversity for Life flagship initiative (B4Life), and aims to support progress toward the CBD’s Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The number of occurrence records mediated by GBIF is the CBD’s primary indicator for Target 19, reflecting the status and trends of shared biodiversity knowledge, science base and technologies. The project is expected to help fulfil the European Union’s commitments to the implementation of the CBD Strategic Plan and Aichi Targets.

BID advances GBIF’s long-standing commitment to enhance the capacity of countries by developing the tools, skills and collaborations for effective mobilization, management and use of biodiversity information. Capacity enhancement within the GBIF network of Participants includes regional collaboration to develop work plans for priority data mobilization, training and mentoring programmes to share skills and best practices. BID will enable further capacity enhancement both within and beyond GBIF’s current network.