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SBSTTA Recommendation

. Agenda item 3.4: Practical approaches for capacity-building for taxonomy

Agenda Item 3.4: Practical approaches for capacity-building for taxonomy


Recalling paragraph 7 of decision II/8, which requested the second meeting of the SBSTTA to address the issue of the lack of taxonomists that are required for Parties to implement the Convention and to advise the Conference of the Parties at its third meeting on ways and means to overcome this problem, taking into account existing studies and ongoing initiatives while adopting more practical direction of taxonomy linked to bio-prospecting and ecological research on conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and its components;

Recognizing that biological collections are the basis of taxonomy and are also sources of genetic resources;

Having examined the note by the Secretariat (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/5) and finding an extraordinary level of agreement that enhanced taxonomic capacity is a sine qua non for the implementation of the Convention;

Recommends that the Conference of the Parties consider the following:

1. There is a scarcity of taxonomists, taxonomic collections, and institutional facilities, and there is a need to take measures to alleviate this situation worldwide, to facilitate and assist countries in implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity. In particular, national institutions and regional and subregional networks should be established or strengthened and linkages enhanced with taxonomic institutions in developing and developed countries. In strengthening the taxonomic base, consideration must be given to the information needs for bio-prospecting, habitat conservation, sustainable agriculture and the sustainable utilization of biological resources.

2. Capacity-building for taxonomy should be linked to the effective implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, particularly the national identification of areas of high diversity to threatened taxa, taxa that are or may be of value to humanity, and those with potential use as biological indicators for conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

3. Development of guidelines and programme priorities for funding, including for the financial mechanism under the Convention, should take account of the specific needs for capacity-building in taxonomy to serve areas such as bio-prospecting, habitat conservation and the sustainable use of biological diversity. Such support should recognize the need for adequate, long-term housing of collections and records and long-term research.

4. For new taxonomists to be recruited, there is a need to provide employment opportunities. It is urgent that Parties take this need into consideration and integrate it into the programme of capacity-building.

5. Where appropriate, national taxonomic needs assessment and action plans should be developed by setting national priorities, mobilizing available institutional resources, and identifying available funds. Countries could benefit from regional and subregional collaboration.

6. The importance of establishing regional and subregional training programmes was recognized. Attention should also be given to the training of specialists, parataxonomists, and technicians in this field. The field of taxonomy must be integrated with training activitie such as biological monitoring and assessments. Maximum use should be made of existing institutions and those organizations active in these fields.

7. There is an urgent need to make the information on existing taxonomic knowledge, including information about the taxa in worldwide collections, available to countries of origin.

8. Taxonomic information to assist capacity-building in taxonomy should be included within the clearing-house mechanism. The taxonomic work embodied in existing archives and inventories, field guides and publications needs to be updated and readily accessible through worldwide services and the duplication of work already conducted should be avoided. The dissemination of information should further the objectives of the Convention and be linked to user needs. This sharing of information will require greater international collaboration. It should also be recognized that traditional taxonomic systems offer a valuable perspective on biological diversity and should be considered part of the total taxonomic knowledge base at national, regional and subregional levels.

9. Since taxonomy generally involves the use of biological collections, those concerned should consider the adoption of mutually agreed upon material transfer agreements or equivalent instruments in accordance with the provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity for exchange of biological specimens and information relating to them.

10. The Conference of the Parties should consider instructing the Global Environment Facility to support a Global Taxonomy Initiative, providing the necessary funds for the following actions related to capacity-building in taxonomy:

(a) developing national, regional and subregional training programmes;

(b) strengthening reference collections in countries or origin including, where appropriate, the exchange of paratypes on mutually agreed upon terms;

(c) making information housed in collections worldwide and the taxonomy based on them available to the countries of origin;

(d) producing and distributing regional taxonomic guides;

(e) strengthening infrastructure for biological collections in countries of origin, and the transfer of modern technologies for taxonomic research and capacity-building; and

(f) disseminating taxonomic information worldwide, inter alia, by the clearing-house mechanism.