Availability and easy access to comprehensive biodiversity data and information are fundamental for decision-making, policy advice and monitoring conservation of biodiversity and the effectiveness of conservation measures. In an effort to take this idea of making biodiversity information easily accessible forward, through a web-based portal, the National Biodiversity Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Serbithang organized consultation workshop with key biodiversity data generators and managers of the country.
The workshop held on 19th and 21stof March in Thimphu was inaugurated by Hon’ble Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and attended by more than forty participants from the following agencies, both within and outside the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests:Wildlife Conservation Division, Forests Resource Management Division, Watershed Management Division, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment, RDC-Yusipang from the Department of Forests and Park Service.
- RDC- Bajo, National Plant Protection Center, National Soil Service Center and National Mushroom Centre from the Department of Agriculture.
- National Dairy Development Centre, Department of Livestock
- Council of RNR-Research of Bhutan
- Policy Planning Division
- Information Communication Services
- National Environment Commission
- College of Natural Resource, Lobeysa and Royal Thimphu College, RUB.
- Natural Resource Development Corporation Ltd.
- Royal Society for Protection of Nature
- SAARC Forestry Centre
- Menjong Sorij Pharmaceutical, Ministry of Health
- Department of Information, Technology and Telecom, MoIC
- Private IT Firm
A team of experts from the partner organizations of the consortium involved in the development and management of India Biodiversity Portal, an initiative similar to the one Bhutan envisages developing, also participated in the workshop to share their experience in developing the India Biodiversity Portal and to provide technical inputs for the workshop.
The agenda for the two day workshop encompassed sharing concept on Bhutan Biodiversity portal, current initiatives of different agencies in managing biodiversity data and information, discussions on issues of open access and licensing, data ownership and citation, data standards, common sharing platform and technology options, participation through citizen science module, and formation of consortium of key biodiversity data generators to develop and manage the National Biodiversity portal.
The workshop concluded with general agreement from the entire stakeholders on the need to developing a common web-based national biodiversity portal, managed through a consortium, rather than by a single agency. Based on the availability of expertise and data, the following agencies were proposed to be the core consortium partners:
- UWICE, WCD, RNR-RDC from DoFPS
- CNR from RUB
- NBC as member secretariat to the consortium.
- ICS (ICT technical partner)
It was agreed that other agencies with biodiversity data and technical expertise would be consulted and engaged as additional partners of the consortium once the basic portal is built and deployed. The workshop also endorsed India Biodiversity Portal as the technical partner of the Bhutan Biodiversity Portal. The workshop outputs will be presented to the higher authorities for final endorsement and subsequent implementation.