Global monitoring of biodiversity change: Building the GEO Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON)

Timely and relevant data on biodiversity are critical to the effective conservation and sustainable management of the natural world. These data underpin the scientific assessments that, in turn, inform biodiversity policy and management at the global, national and local levels.

Biodiversity observations abound, yet most of them are local and uncoordinated. A range of national and international organisations are working to coordinate and interconnect information, but these initiatives exist for particular purposes without a mechanism to link them to an overarching goal, making it difficult to gain an integrated, comprehensive view of the state of global biodiversity. Biodiversity data are also often uneven in spatial, temporal, and topical coverage. To monitor trends in global biodiversity status, a comprehensive and integrated observation system is required.

GEO BON focuses on coordination and harmonisation of existing and emerging systems and helping to identify and fill gaps. It is a voluntary community of practice and a number of government agencies and international organizations make up GEO BON. The need for GEO BON has been widely recognized, not least of all as a mechanism for supporting the new Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

This poster will present the GEO BON vision for an integrated network building upon the existing activities of leading organizations and programs, such as GBIF, UNEP-WCMC, IUCN, and many national and NGO-based monitoring programs. It will give the characteristics of the desired observation system and the various forms of integration required to build it.

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