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

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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

At final reporting the project had overall been very successful, making substantial progress in the area of building human capacity in West Africa for data mobilization and publication especially regarding the "Essential Biodiversity Variable" (EBVs) and sample-based data.

Mentoring activities were accomplished through project meetings and 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 has mobilized and published to GBIF research-grade sample-based datasets from Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia.

In May 2023 the project also held a regional capacity enhancement workshop event on biodiversity data mobilization and use in support of decision making in West Africa to build capacity in developing biodiversity information products (BIPs) as well as how to mainstream biodiversity information.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions encountered, project implementation was significantly impacted, including delays to project activities and the need to modify activities. Through regular project meetings however the project was kept active and despite the delays, execution of project activities was successful. Post project, activities envisaged by the project include continuing work towards the production of BIPs and guidelines on mainstreaming of biodiversity, as well as continuing to build on project achievements as part of routine activities in biodiversity data mobilization and use.

€ {{ 23437 | localNumber }}
€ {{ 5673 | localNumber }}
1 August 2020 - 31 May 2023
Project identifier
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

€ {{ 23437 | localNumber}}