This year’s Biodiversity Information Management Forum (BIMF) was held at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden on 19-20 November. The purpose of the workshop was to engage with strategic partners in developing a shared national vision of an integrated biodiversity information system for South Africa.
An agreed working vision was conceptualised that reads as “Access to integrated South African biodiversity information”.
The key objectives of the 2013 BIMF were to develop an implementation framework, establish roles and responsibilities of partners and agree on governance and communication going forward. These objectives were successfully met and four task teams were formed around the agreed priorities. The task teams will focus on:
• building awareness of tools within the biodiversity informatics community,
• ascertaining standards and policies,
• establishing a taxonomic backbone, and
• Understanding the needs of end-users of biodiversity information.
The director of SANBI’s Biodiversity Information Management Directorate (BIM) Selwyn Willoughby said he appreciates the input and involvement of partner organisations who want to be part of the national vision. According to him, SANBI will initiate and facilitate the information architecture as funding is available for this project.
Russell Galt of BIM at SANBI summed up the 2013 BIMF as “A network of data holders and providers collaborating efficiently (i.e. without duplication) to ensure the interoperability (data from any place in the system is accessible from any other place in the system) of their data systems and alignment with relevant international standards and best practices, with a view to meeting the needs of relevant stakeholders and underpinning good policy formulation, ultimately to contribute to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in South Africa.”