Decisions of the CBD

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted as a result of the important environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The convention comprises the coequal aims of biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of natural resources and equitable access to (genetic) ressources.

Representatives of the 193 signatory states of the CBD meet every second year for the Conference of the Parties (COP). While the COP 9 took place in former german capital Bonn, COP 10 was held in Nagoya, Japan. One major issue to be negotiated in Nagoya was the issue of the above mentioned equitable share of benefits resulting from access to (genetic) ressources, which is also referred to as access and benefit sharing - ABS.

On national level the German "Clearing House Mechanism" (CHM) is an important central coordination mechanism to ensure communication, cooperation and the exchange of information. The official institution responsible for the CHM-process is the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). 

Further information

At the 9th conference of member states (COP 9) some important decisions in regard to the GTI were taken. The document outlining those decisions (COP 9 Decision IX/22) contains five operational objectives which include altogether 19 activities.

 

According to the decisions taken, the GTI is responsible for assessing taxonomic resources and capacities needed to achive the CBD targets on national, regional and global scale. PR-related work as well as educational activities are also part of the agenda (operational objective 1).

The second operational target is related to specimens of biological collections as overall foundation for all taxonomic knowledge. In this respect it is regarded as crucial to maintain human resources, systems and infrastructures as well as establish additional ones. The GTI is supposed to set the focus and identify key aspects in this process on regional and global level and thereby contribute to effective acquisition, preparation and curation of specimens of biological collections (operational objective 2).

The third operational target aims to improve infrastructure facilitating access to taxonomic information/data. A coordinated information system will be established, which ensures prioritized access for those countries where the information/data originates from (operational objective 3).

Furthermore the GTI will arrange for key taxonomic objectives to be included into major thematic work programmes of the CBD (operational objective 4) in order to contribute to their implementation (e.g. forest biodiversity, marine biodiversity, diversity of coastal lands, biodiversity of arid and sub-humid areas, inland waters, etc.). The same is true for the crosscutting issues of the convention (operational objective 5) (e.g. access and benefit-sharing, invasive species, protected areas, etc.).

State of implementation in Germany

The 4th country report submitted by Germany as a CBD member state in March 2010 indicates the state of implementation of the GTI work programme on the national level. According to the report a global study about taxonomic capacities and needs is currently being compiled by the German national focal point. Apart from that the "Taxonomy Initiative – Endowed Professorships for Germany" was founded by the German national focal point in collaboration with "Association of German Biologists" (VBIOL). A consortium was established consisting of research museums and botanical gardens called "German Scientific Research Collections" (DNFS), which aims at improving existing research infrastructure and cooperation of member institutions and work towards synergies within its networks. The DNFS regards itself as main contact for political, social and scientific insititutions as well as for relevant related processes.

As the report states, the German government financially supports research on biodiversity mainly through the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). This is relevant for taxonomic research since the term "biodiversity research" includes taxonomic research as well as research that indirectly incorporates the field of taxonomy. Examples are the ongoing GBIF- Germany project as well as the completed BIOLOG-Project (BIOTA). Furthermore, in April 2012 the DFG’s Joint Committee selected a joint proposal from 3 states for a „German Centre of Integrative Biodiversity Research – iDiv“, granting the project a 4-year funding over 33 million Euro with its main seat in Leipzig. The Federal Program "Biological Diversity" implemented by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) is another funding initiative that holds possiblities for taxonomic research. The EU 7th framework programme launched the European Biodiversity Observation Network (EU BON) in December 2012 as a European contribution to the Group on Earth Observation Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON). GEO BON will capture and analyse biodiversity changes on different scales with special regards to the impacts of climate and land-use changes. In order to achieve these aims digital data and biodiversity data needs to be interlinked. In line with the funding schemes named above, The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) is funding a biodiversity data platform called LifeWatch.

In addition, in the field of Botany a comprehensive network for plant protection activities has been established on the national level, which is partly due to the efforts of another CBD initiative, the "Global Strategy for Plant Conservation" (GSPC). Within its scope the following networks were founded: „Network of Botanical Nature Conservation" und die „Society for Research of the Flora of Germany" (GEFD) with German members being for example "Phytodiversity Germany e.V." NetPhyD, Diversitas Deutschland, GBIF- Germany and the GTI national focal point. As part of the implementation of the GSPC targets in Germany the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) commissioned an GSPC-related assessment which includes its relevance, level of implementation, and further plan of action. The assessment was conducted by more than 50 experts from state and federal agencies, universities and conservation organisations.
The organisation "Network of Botanical Conservation" concluded that the key for successful implementation of the GSPC-targets in Germany lies in networking and exchange between stakeholders from research, public administration and conservation organisations.

On European level the completed project EDIT (European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy) is of relevance, since it aims to strengthen networks between taxonomists and improve information exchange. German EDIT-partner-institutions played a leading role in establishing and implementing the ATBI-Sites (All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory). Moreover the European project SYNTHESYS supports exchange of researchers between different institutions and contributes to an increased standardisation and professionalisation of taxonomic methods and collection management.

 

Links

New DFG Research Centre on Biodiversity: Decision for Leipzig/Jena/Halle-Wittenberg. DFG Press Release No. 17, April 27th 2012