For the first time, leading international parties unite for a global biodiversity information strategy
Now more important than ever
Major players in biodiversity informatics are joining forces with the international conference Biodiversity_Next in Leiden on 22 – 25 October 2019. The objective is to develop a global biodiversity information strategy to help secure the earth’s geological and biological wealth.
The global loss of biodiversity is proceeding faster than expected and poses major risks to human well-being. The devastating conclusions of the Global Assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES, May 2019) points to a need for a paradigm change in our thinking and actions. Without change, the majority of the UN Sustainable Development Goals will remain out of reach. Working together on biodiversity data is more crucial than ever.
The conference follows on from the GBIC2: the second Global Biodiversity Informatics Conference in which the biodiversity informatics community called for an alliance for biodiversity knowledge. Biodiversity_Next represents the critical next step in this global engagement.
Building a network of global infrastructures for biodiversity data
The biodiversity crisis emphasizes the need for insight and transparency. When we are aware of the state of global biodiversity, we are able to protect it better. Despite efforts of hundreds of thousands of scientists and volunteers who have built up thousands of databases and information systems, existing data on global biodiversity is still scattered, incomplete and often has restricted availability.
Biodiversity_Next addresses questions of how to accelerate research, cooperation, and integration of systems, and to reduce the loss of biodiversity. How do we proceed from here? How to predict the effect of climate change on global biodiversity? What new science do we need? New policies?
We aim to build a worldwide network of open-access biodiversity data. A network that encompasses all existing biodiversity databases, tools, and knowledge.
Better data, better science, better solutions
We foresee a future where all biodiversity data is combined, linked and disseminated to everyone in the world who needs or can use it. Achieving this goal is essential to make rational and timely decisions in support of a sustainable future. Because better data leads to better science, and better science leads to better solutions and policies.
This vision ties in with the next steps of the GBIC2 conference that focuses on expanding engagement, evaluating models, clarifying the scope and targeting outcomes, mapping the stakeholders and adopting proof-of-concept projects.
About the international conference Biodiversity_Next
By commission of the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Naturalis Biodiversity Center in collaboration with the Netherlands Biodiversity Information Facility are hosting Biodiversity_Next. Biodiversity_Next is a joint conference by The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), a new pan-European Research Infrastructure initiative (DiSSCo), the US national resource for digitized information about vouchered natural history collections (iDigBio), Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF), Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) and LifeWatch ERIC, the e-Science and Technology European Infrastructure for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research.
The parties represent global initiatives, networks, consortia and organizations that provide open access data on life on earth to anyone, anywhere. It encompasses unifying data on natural science collections, developing biodiversity information standards, making collections available via electronic format, and to promote training, research, understanding, and access to increase the knowledge and understanding about biodiversity.