Africa survey: Capacity and information critical for meeting data needs to inform policy

Data holders and policymakers surveyed about the availability and use of biodiversity data in sub-Saharan Africa clearly recognize the importance of biodiversity data to support their work and indicate needs for increased technical capacity and additional information resources.

Both data holders and policymakers in sub-Saharan Africa clearly recognize the importance of biodiversity data to support their work and indicated needs for increased technical capacity and additional information resources. These are among the key findings from a pair of surveys conducted by GBIF to support the EU-funded Biodiversity Information for Development programme (BID).

Between April 2015 and December 2015, GBIF sought input from hundreds of individuals who self-identified as biodiversity data holders or decision makers—two audiences critical to the programme’s long-term success. Respondents could complete the surveys either on- or offline in any of three languages: English, French and Portuguese.

The number of responses was encouragingly robust, with nearly 450 individuals from a total of 41 sub-Saharan African countries taking the surveys. The complete results appear in this summary report published today.

GBIF expects the BID programme to help address many challenges identified in these surveys. In coming months, the Secretariat will canvass the views of biodiversity data holders and policymakers in the nations of the Caribbean and Pacific Islands through similar surveys, prior to upcoming BID calls for proposals in those regions.

GBIF is firmly committed to developing and strengthening national capabilities for mobilizing and using biodiversity data, and BID offers a significant boost to achieving this goal. An announcement is forthcoming regarding the first BID-funded grants to projects that mobilization content and enhance capacity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mist on mountains, Western Cape, South Africa

breathing is the hardest thing. CC BY-NC-SA 2006 Martin Sharman. 

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