Panel discussion on inspiring an open participatory biodiversity information systems for India
Foundation for Ecological Security
Date and Time
18 October 2012 13:15 - 14:45
It is an active and exciting period for biodiversity informatics in the world and in India. The Indian subcontinent has been biologically explored extensively over the years. However information on the description, status and distribution of biodiversity, essential to conservation science, planning and development is not readily accessible in user-friendly formats. Over the last few years, there is a lot of activity in building biodiversity information systems and making them easily and openly accessible. These initiatives focus on local, regional, national, and species centric biodiversity information systems. They encourage citizen science; build education and awareness on conservation; and help conservation science and research. There are large national level efforts, including plans of building a biodiversity information grid linking many of these initiatives. A biodiversity information system should be species-referenced and spatially referenced. The guiding principle of such an information system should be that (a) biodiversity information is common good and should be freely and openly accessible; (b) the system should be participatory and encourage contribution from institutions and citizens; (c) there should be clear attribution and credits to the contributed information; and (d) all information should be shared on the principles of creative commons. To build a comprehensive system, we need to strive for an inclusive, broad-based approach, in partnership with Government and civil society. Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) plans to launch the Indian Biodiversity Information System (IBIS) at upcoming COP 11 Conference in Hyderabad. IBIS is a web-based, modular and searchable biodiversity database and at present is ready with portals on Birds and Mammals which covers a wealth of information on each taxa group and its species, including an exhaustive bibliography with world coverage, taxonomy modules with check-lists, historical accounts of species, museum collections and links to other dedicated databases. Over the next year information on amphibians, reptiles, plants and other groups would be added. The FES is hosting a panel discussion on Biodiversity Information Systems during the Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 11), on 18th October 2012 in Hyderabad, India. A brief presentation on the IBIS will be followed by a panel discussion that will focus on generating ideas for developing such an open biodiversity information system and will inspire ways to build such collaborative systems. We are inviting leading scholars/field practitioners/policy advocates working on this issue in India to be part of the panel discussion.