ASEAN training on biodiversity information sharing tool goes online

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) will conduct a three-day online training on the use of the Bioland toolan online platform designed to help parties to the CBD in the curation and sharing of biodiversity data.

The webinar, which will run from 25 to 27 March 2020, serves as a preliminary activity to the Regional Workshop for the ASEAN on National Clearing-House Mechanisms, which was originally slated for 8 to 12 March 2020 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but was postponed due to growing concerns on the spread of the Coronavirus disease or COVID-19.

In the two-step webinar, the SCBD oriented the Biodiversity Information Management staff of the ACB on how to use the platform on 11–13 March 2020. The ACB team will then train the information technology and technical staff from each ASEAN Member State (AMS).

The training was designed to address technical barriers faced by the AMS in effectively establishing their respective national Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) websites, which would be part of the global network with the CBD website serving as a central node.

The CHM of the CBD was established to facilitate scientific and technical cooperation and sharing of biodiversity information among governments, towards the successful implementation of national biodiversity strategies and plans, which will eventually contribute to the achievement of global biodiversity targets.

“As parties to the CBD, the AMS are encouraged to establish and maintain their national CHMs that will serve as a rich biodiversity information resource in their respective countries,” said Dr. Sheila G. Vergara, director of the Biodiversity Information Management unit of the ACB.

The Bioland tool, which the parties to the CBD and its secretariat have developed, is a user-friendly portal that provides templates for uploading various content to a national CHM. It is customisable to meet its user’s specific needs.

“In the region, we have the ASEAN CHM, which provides a wide range of services, information, capacity-building guides, and tools to support the AMS in conservation planning, monitoring and science-based decision making,” Vergara said.

Some of ASEAN CHM’s features are the species database, invasive alien species database, information on the ASEAN Heritage Parks, and an e-library.

She said the ACB is working with the Scientific Advisory Committee of ACB to develop a roster of biodiversity experts. This database will make it easier to locate and identify individuals and institutions sharing a common interest in biodiversity conservation, as well as scientists, researchers, and biodiversity experts in the ASEAN region.

Mr. Alexandre Rafalovitch, Information Systems Officer of the Secretariat of the CBD, will serve as the main resource speaker of the training with support from the biodiversity information management team of the ACB.

The ACB was established in 2005 by the AMS as a response to biodiversity loss in the region. It supports and coordinates activities in the ASEAN, leading to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity for the benefit of the region and the AMS.