Prepared by Azra Velagić-Hajrudinović and Jelena Peruničić, GIZ ORF-BD Biodiversity Information Management and Reporting (BIMR) project
ORF-BD conducted several assessments on biodiversity information management and reporting in the past year. The Assessments encompassed six assessments for the economies in SEE region and a regional overview, and were published in May.
The focus of the research was primarily on the current stakeholder situation, as well as on the policy, legal and institutional frameworks, and information system set-up in the field of biodiversity. The Assessments were based on desk research, interviews with more than 80 relevant stakeholders and questionnaires filled out by 116 stakeholders from the SEE region.
The GIZ Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Biodiversity (ORF-BD) promotes regional cooperation of biodiversity related organizations in South-East Europe (SEE) and contributes to the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020.
The ORF-BD is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
Within the ORF-BD, several regional projects are being implemented, one of which is the Biodiversity Information Management and Reporting (BIMR) project, which aims to improve the capacities of partner institutions needed to meet the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and EU requirements in SEE. It is implemented in cooperation with ministries in charge of environment, including agencies and institutes for nature protection and conservation in South-East Europe.
As part of the ORF-BD BIMR project, several assessments on biodiversity information management and reporting have been conducted in the period from September, 2016 to April, 2017. The documents were prepared by a team of experts, in close cooperation and coordination with relevant stakeholders, and partners from the region. These focus primarily on the current stakeholder situation, as well as on the policy, legal and institutional frameworks and information system set-up in the field of biodiversity. The documents are:
- Regional Assessment of BIMR Baseline for SEE region;
- Six SEE economies’ Assessments of BIMR Baseline.
The Assessments were based on desk research, interviews with more than 80 relevant stakeholders and information obtained from questionnaires filled out by 116 stakeholders from SEE.
Some interesting facts found by the BIMR Regional Assessment are:
- There are 4 percent of the total number of stakeholders in SEE who act as biodiversity data collectors and primarily collect plants, vertebrates and invertebrates. Collected data mostly includes information from field observations, multimedia documents and processed specimens or parts of the specimens. Most of these stakeholders, however, do not store collected data in geospatial format. It was noticed that data collectors are least ready to share data with companies dealing with EIA-SEIA (environmental impact assessment). Stakeholder stated that there is lack of trained experts for field research, lack of proper data collection protocols and standardized forms, lack of the Geographic Information System (GIS) and statistical data processing skills;
- There are 26 percent of the total number of stakeholders in SEE who act as biodiversity data integrators. These stakeholders do not have any formal agreement or contract with the academia, any relevant companies, the NGO sector, or experts who collect biodiversity data. In case formal cooperation agreements exist, 45 percent of these made with researchers/external sources, do not cover data ownership aspects or use of data rights or other specificities. Biodiversity data integrators are not conducting quality control or any form of data validation and almost 30 percent of them are not aware of the EU INSPIRE Directive (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe);
- There are 7 percent of the total number of stakeholders in SEE who act as biodiversity data providers. Majority of data providers do not charge for data provision, except for specific data. Data is mostly provided in various structured table formats (exports from databases, Excel tables etc.) and to a smaller extent as a web service (WMS, WFS).
As stated in the BIMR Regional Assessment:
“It is interesting to notice that at regional level, there is a lack of initiatives that would
tackle aspects of biodiversity information systems set-up, from technical standards and
guidelines to biodiversity data standards, as well as data harmonization and data exchange
As such, the ORF-BD BIMR is the first project of its kind in the SEE region
specifically focusing on technical aspects and standards related to biodiversity data.”
In order to improve biodiversity data management and reporting in the region, toward the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and EU, the BIMR Regional Assessment provides several important recommendations:
- Develop smaller interconnected modules of the biodiversity information system and take a more fragmented approach;
- Define standardized forms for collecting biodiversity data, establish a logical and technical data validation procedure and consider relevant biodiversity information standards such as Darwin core TDWG4 or catalogs such as EU Nomen PESI (Pan-European Species directories
Infrastructure), which are mandatory for many EU reporting obligations;
- Invest efforts in order to transfer valuable data from static to digital structure formats and to ensure continuous geo-referencing and digitalization;
- Ensure adequate IT support in all biodiversity information system projects (even small scale projects), especially in early stages of project planning and technical specifications where necessary aspects of data backup, support and insurance should be covered.
Considering all facts and recommendations, the BIMR Regional Platform (ministries in charge of environment, agencies and institutes for nature protection and conservation) for SEE region has officially reviewed and endorsed these documents.
The Assessments have been published in May, 2017 and distributed to over 400 email addresses nationally and internationally.