🇵🇦 Panama joins GBIF

Central American republic becomes 107th formal member extending participation in the Latin America and Caribbean region

Panama has joined GBIF as an associate participant, becoming the 64th national participant and the twelfth from Latin America and the Caribbean, with Vice Minister of the Environment Diana Laguna signing the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the national government.

"Joining GBIF provides valuable training and capacity-building opportunities for Panamanian institutions to increase the available data about the country," said Vice Minister Laguna. "We hope it also provides us with a platform from which we can increase awareness and apprise the public about biodiversity and its relevance."

As the central crossroad of North and South America, Panama hosts a unique and diverse set of terrestrial and marine biomes that support a wide range of species. With more than 60 per cent of its territory covered by forests and coastlines that stretch along the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the country—home one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America—faces numerous challenges to ensure the preservation and persistence of both its ecosystems and the species that inhabit them.

With deforestation, pollution, and illegal wildlife trade are on the rise, ready-to-use and openly available data become an essential tool for improving understanding the state of the country's ecosystems and the threats they face.

"Panama's participation in GBIF underscores the critical importance of global collaboration in biodiversity data sharing," said Andrew Rodrigues, Data Partnerships Officer at GBIF. "This partnership provides a robust foundation to address pressing environmental challenges, strengthen capacity, and enhance regional data skills."

To date, nearly 8.2 million occurrence records are available to GBIF users, shared by 453 institutions from 43 countries. Eighty per cent come from eBird–a global citizen science platform managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology–and only 12.8 per cent are specimen records from various natural history museums around the world, among which the Missouri Botanical Garden provides the most extensive collection with more than 200,000 records.