BIMR Regional platform approves draft BIMR Policy Paper for 2020-2050
Biodiversity information management and reporting (BIMR) Regional platform has approved the draft BIMR Policy Paper for the period 2020 – 2025, as the strategic document for the biodiversity information management and reporting in the Southeast Europe region. The Biodiversity Task Force for SEE is yet to do the final review of the document and endorse it.
As it was was announced at the second meeting of the BIMR Regional Platform held in Sarajevo in December 2019, the draft of the BIMR Policy Paper has been developed and approved by the BIMR Regional Platform. Participants of regional and international stakeholders, representatives of 19 institutions took part in the document’s development and their work was facilitated throughout the workshops organized in the scope of BIMR Regional Platform’s meetings.
The BIMR Policy Paper’s long-term vision is defined as following: “Sufficient biodiversity information is systematically collected, processed, stored and easily accessible (according to FAIR principles – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable data) through regional and international cooperation, to provide scientific evidence for sound decision-making for conservation of nature in South-East Europe, as one of the biodiversity hot-spots, and beyond.”
An important part of the BIMR Policy Paper is the Proposal of main components of the Nature conservation information system legislation, which SEE economies can use when they prepare specific national legislation in the future.
Eight focus areas identified for sustainable future
During the BIMR Policy Paper development, its creators and stakeholders involved in the process have assessed the present situation regarding BIMR, and emphasized the lack of human and financial resource. In order to overcome the gap between present state and desired future, altogether 8 focus areas, i.e. topics with 13 targets and 29 activities were identified. The focus areas, which should be improved through proposed activities, are:
BIMR Policy Paper basis for nature conservation in SEE
On the occasion of BIMR Policy Paper approval, Ana Štrbenac, GIZ consultant in charge of coordination of the BIMR component activities said that the document’s approval by BIMR Regional Platform is an important step for the SEE region towards achievement of adequate biodiversity information management, as a basis for nature conservation planning and effective conservation of nature in practice, not only on paper.
The SEE is one of the global biodiversity hot-spots, which is a big asset of the region, but brings a great responsibility to preserve it. This means that we have to think strategically and plan future steps, taking into account limited human and financial resources and constant pressures to biodiversity, Štrbenac emphasized and announced next steps in the process. Further endorsement of the BIMR Policy Paper by the BDTF SEE should be a next step to confirm the higher political profile of the BIMR issues in the region, Štrbenac concluded.
Next steps in BIMR Policy Paper implementation, monitoring and revision
Regarding implementation, monitoring and revision, it is proposed that main supervisors, during their known mandate (2020-2021) are BIMR RP and The Biodiversity Task Force of South-East Europe (BDTF SEE) under Regional Cooperation Council – Regional Working Group of Environment (RCC/RWGE).
After that period, supervision of BIMR Policy Paper will depend on future arrangements of mentioned platforms. The main subjects in charge of implementation will be GIZ/ORF BDU BIMR 2, relevant national authorities, expert institutions and organizations, other relevant experts, as well as international networks and research infrastructures dealing specifically with BIMR related issues:, GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility) and DiSSCo RI (Distributed System of Scientific Collections Research Infrastructure). There is also a possibility to involve other subjects, willing to support the activities operationally and/or financially.
Wide spectrum of BIMR 2 activities
The creation of the BIMR Policy Paper and related activities are part of BIMR 2 component of the Open Regional Fund for SEE – Implementation of Biodiversity Agreements (ORF-BDU), German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).
As reported at the 3rd BIMR RP Meeting, various activities and initiatives have been implemented and developed in the SEE economies through BIMR 2 project: the components of the Information systems for nature conservation (ISNC) are being prepared in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia. BiH and Montenegro are focused on development of the module on protected areas and North Macedonia on development of the software application for field data collection for species and habitats. These activities should be finished and presented to the public in autumn of 2020.
Further update of the regional List of Endemic Taxa is prepared. The list of land and freshwater snails and slugs should be completed and the distribution of selected endemic species from alpine habitats in the border areas of economies in SEE region should be mapped. Structured datasets are being published via the GBIF. Project results should be presented at the 6th Congress of Ecologists of the Republic of North Macedonia with international participation, to be organized by Macedonian Ecological Society (MES) in October 2020.
Cooperation between the GIZ and GBIF and DiSSCo in the SEE region continues. After engagement meetings with nature collections holders and national administrations in 2019, further steps are planned to involve national institutions in these two international platforms and use the benefits that they provide.
4th meeting of the BIMR RP is planned for autumn 2020, together with the BIMR Study tour to Croatia.