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Taxonomic Needs

Taxonomy is essential to implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Taxonomic knowledge is a key input in the management of all types of ecosystems, from marine areas to forests to drylands. It is also a key to effectively addressing alien species, access and benefit-sharing, and the many other cross-cutting issues under the Convention. Each country and region, in addressing this wide range of biodiversity issues, has different needs and priorities regarding taxonomic support. Understanding those needs and priorities is the important first step to overcoming the "taxonomic impediment". Consequently, it is no surprise that the Conference of the Parties, at its eighth meeting in March 2006, urged Parties and other Governments that have not done so to undertake or complete or update, as a matter of priority, national taxonomic needs assessments, including related technical, technological and capacity needs, and to establish priorities for taxonomic work that take into account country-specific circumstances, with particular regard to user needs and priorities.

The programme of work for the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI) includes a focus on taxonomic needs assessment and identification of priorities at national, regional and global levels. At the national level, the programme of work specifies that each country would report their taxonomic needs through their national biodiversity strategies and action plans as well as through their national reports, and the information would be disseminated through the clearing-house mechanism of the Convention. Accordingly, this page intends to summarize the information of the needs and priorities identified in national reports, national biodiversity strategies and action plans, Global Environment Facility (GEF)- funded assessments, or other sources.

A Suggested Standard Format for Needs Assessments

The Coordination Mechanism for the Global Taxonomy Initiative prepared a standard format for taxonomic needs assessment in response to decision X/39. To conduct the assessment effectively the following links may provide guidance how to conduct the assessment

Country Needs Assessments

A. Many governments have provided information on taxonomic needs through National Reports to the CBD, National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, the 2004 GTI Thematic Report to the CBD, and through regional workshops on the GTI. This information is summarized here.

B. Approximately 51 countries are expected to comment on their taxonomic needs through GEF-funded enabling activities, implemented through United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank. The following are available:

  • Armenia - Biodiversity Capacity Needs Assessment.
  • Tajikistan - Biodiversity Capacity Needs Assessment.

C. Some countries have completed National Capacity Self Assessments (NCSAs) funded by the GEF and implemented through UNEP and UNDP. Some of these may cover taxonomic needs. The results of these assessments are available at http://ncsa.undp.org/results.asp. Results are organized by thematic profiles, so it is necessary to search for the BD (biodiversity) thematic profile.

D. Finally, a few countries have produced stand-alone assessments of taxonomic needs. Those that have been received by the secretariat are listed here:

  • Canada - Capacity gap analysis and statement of requirements, federal biosystematics partnership, June 2002.
  • Central African Republic - Elements de strategie et plan d’action pour le renforcement des capacites dans le domaine de la taxonomie en Republique Centrafricaine.
  • United Kingdom - Taxonomic Needs Assessment, March 2006.

Other Sources of Information on Needs and Priorities

In addition to individual country assessments, there are several resoures available that synthesize taxonomic needs and priorities at regional or global levels, or that synthesize biodiversity needs without a specific focus on taxonomy. Some key sources include:

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme