In a ground-breaking workshop held at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in February 2013, international organisations brought their lessons and experiences to the table and committed to supporting the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) in developing new, flexible biodiversity information architecture for South Africa.
The workshop concluded the following:
•SANBI must lead the development of a shared national biodiversity information vision for role-players
•Global initiatives such as Encyclopaedia of Life, Global Biodiversity Information Facility and Biodiversity Heritage Library need to work towards greater synergy as this will have a positive impact at national level;
•Key to implementing a new system is the clear articulation of institutional, policy and regulatory environment for biodiversity information management;
•There is a need for national policy on biodiversity data standards and on the commercial use of biodiversity data; and
•There is a global network of partners that can support SANBI with the implementation of our new architecture.
SANBI is drawing on the success of other initiatives, from countries and organisations such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden and National Laboratory for Scientific Computing (Brazil), CONABIO (Mexico), Atlas of Living Australia (Australia), Global Biodiversity Information Facility (Denmark), National Biodiversity Institute (Costa Rica), the Open University (United Kingdom), National Museums of Kenya and African Conservation Centre (Kenya) and Biodiversity Heritage Library (USA).
SANBI’s business imperative is information and knowledge collection, beneficiation and dissemination. The Institute’s legal mandate includes harnessing, organising, refining, synthesising and managing this information and knowledge. SANBI performs this function in partnership with other organisations, and develops tools that allow for quick and simple access to the knowledge resource base, especially to support, research, policy development and decision-making.