On 27 March 2006, a Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) was signed in the city of Curitiba, Brazil between the Convention on Biological Diversity and six leading scientific institutions: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle de France, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation.
The purpose of the MOU is to leverage the expertise and experience of these institutions in order to implement education and training activities to support developing countries that are building scientific, technical and policy skills in the area of biodiversity.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew played host to the first meeting of the steering committee on 8 to 9 September. A work programme was negotiated for the next two years combining existing initiatives with new capacity-building activities to support Parties in the implementation of the Convention.
The Kew meeting also presented an opportunity for three additional institutions to express their interest in becoming signatories to the MOU. The institutions were: the Geneva Museum of Natural History, the Mexican Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad de México) which became a signatory to the MOU in Geneva on 13 September 2006, and the Museums Nature Montréal which became a member on 22 February 2007. The Higashiyama Botanical Gardens joined on 16 June 2008, and during the tenth meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP10) held in October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, The Missouri Botanical Garden, The Joint Nature Conservation Committee of the UK and The National Institute of Biological Resources of Korea joined the Consortium. The Natural History Museum of the UK, signed the Memorandum of Understanding in December of 2010 and the latest member of the Consortium, the South African National Biodiversity Institute, signed the MOU in the last meeting of the Consortium held in Incheon City, Korea this past May 20th, 2011. SANBI is the first African partner to join the Convention's Consortium of Scientific Partners.