Enhancing capacity to mobilize and use biodiversity data to support sustainable development in West Africa

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Jatropha-gossypiifolia-iNat-schulting-web
Bellyache bush (Jatropha gossypiifolia), Amansi East district, Ghana. Photo 2019 Steven Schulting via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Biodiversity information is critical for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but many West African countries lack skills for mobilizing the data and developing the information products needed to guide conservation and sustainable use of biological resources.

This project aims to enhance capacity among staff from four GBIF national nodes in West Africa working alongside mentors from the GBIF US node and UNEP-WCMC to address two specific regional capacity needs:

  1. Mobilization of different biodiversity data types: Most efforts to mobilize primary biodiversity data in West Africa region have centered on occurrence data such as museum-based data and observational data. There is currently inadequate capacity to mobilize other types of data such as sample-based data, species-trait data as well as other data types in support of Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) that are relevant to reporting, monitoring and management of biodiversity, and ultimately to achieve sustainable development. Here, Ghana will lead this effort, in collaboration with the US node, building on her experience from the JRS funded project and BID initiatives in data mobilization.

  2. Development and use of biodiversity information products: Expertise in data analyses and development of information resources are necessary to inform conservation and decision-making. The US Node and UNEP-WCMC will train West African stakeholders in data analysis while supporting the production and development of specific information products to include infographics and fact sheets relevant to forest and agricultural decision- and policymaking.

Project progress
The project began with the team designing a project implementation plan with assigned tasks and timelines, and through regular virtual team meetings, has used this plan to track and monitor project progress.

By midterm reporting, the mentoring activities had been accomplished by providing access to relevant information resources regarding the Essential Biodiversity Variable (EBVs) and Sample-based data, as well as by holding a virtual online training course on Essential Biodiversity Variable (EBVs) in March 2021.

The project team also started work towards the mobilization of research-grade sample-based data for publication via GBIF.org, with the publishing of the sample-based dataset “Tree diversity in protected forest in Aburi Botanic Gardens, Ghana”. See all published datasets linked to the project here.

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Duration
1 August 2020 - 31 July 2022
Project identifier
CESP2020-005
Funded by
Project lead
GBIF Ghana
Contact details

Alex Asase
Department of Plant and Environmental Biology, University of Ghana (Ghana Biodiversity Information Facility)
Off J. K. M. Hodasi Street, University of Ghana
P. O. Box LG 55
LG Legon, Accra
Greater Accra
Ghana

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