June 24th 2022

An Introduction To The Global Biodiversity Information Facility

The staff of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) will now reap the benefits of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) network. An introductory workshop saw the staff delve into the data-sharing world and understand the benefits of publishing data and gain an overview of how data is published and how it can be accessed on the network.

GBIF is an international network and data infrastructure funded by the world’s governments and aimed at providing anyone, anywhere, open access to data about all types of life on Earth.

In 2017, SPREP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GBIF allowing the Secretariat to host important data infrastructure and publish data directly to the network. Three projects are currently implemented by SPREP, with one aimed explicitly at building capacity at SPREP for Data Mobilisation and use. This project is overseen by the Invasive Species team, who delivered a successful Phase 1 in 2017-2018 and have now developed a Phase 2, which has made the introductory workshop possible.

Staff were taken through the tools and templates needed to prepare, publish, and use shared biodiversity data. Workshop sessions also included a brief review of the SPREP Environment Data Policy, which essentially provides guidance on how data flowing through the organisation should be handled and how to operationalize policy into existing SPREP processes.

This was further highlighted by SPREP GEF Regional Invasive Species Project Manager, Mr Bradley Myer, this provides the mandate guiding the work of SPREP and contracted consultants in the provision and publishing of data under projects and programmes”.

Another important component of the workshop is the Pacific Biodiversity Information Facility (PBIF), which is a portal presenting all the biodiversity data available on GBIF from Pacific island countries and territories. PBIF was customised and is managed by the SPREP Invasive Species Team. It offers advanced data search, map visualisation and image gallery. The project team strongly recommended that users utilise PBIF as it is more specific to the Pacific region.

In an interactive session, staff indicated their willingness to publish datasets on the GBIF network. Workshop participant, Ms Ane Ah Poe of the Knowledge Management Team noted, “what really impressed me was the amount of data stored in one place, this is good for researchers writing reports or doing research and academics for their information, as well as the general public learning about the biodiversity found in the Pacific”.

Publishing data on the network is beneficial to the operations of SPREP as data creators can be credited and usage of data and citations can be traced. It also increases opportunities for collaboration and potential for inter-disciplinary research and duplication of data collection efforts are significantly reduced.

A second workshop by the Invasive Species Team is planned for November 2022, where SPREP staff will also be invited to more capacity building in publishing data on the network.

For further information on PBIF, visit: https://pbif.sprep.org/

For further information on GBIF, visit: https://www.gbif.org/what-is-gbif

This project is funded by the European Union and delivered by SPREP. For more information on these projects, please contact Mr Bradley Myer on bradleym@sprep.org.