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News World to Share Biodiversity Data

Source Ministry of Research and Information Technology, Denmark
Release date 03/12/2000
Contributor anton

Copenhagen, 3 December 2000

Today, as the culmination of 5 years of discussions and planning, representatives from 32 countries and intergovernmental organizations meeting in Copenhagen completed the planning efforts for a new project to bring data about biological diversity to the desktop of anyone with access to the Internet. The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) will be an interconnected set of databases that will contain information about all 1.8 million species of organisms-from bacteria to whales-that have received scientific names, including access to data on the approximately 3,000,000,000 specimens located in the world's natural history collections. GBIF will be an unparalleled resource for scientists, natural resource managers, policymakers and the general public, who will be able to use GBIF to find genetic, taxonomic, geographical and ecological information on the world's species.

Biodiversity is distributed all over the Earth, with the highest concentrations in the tropical regions, especially in developing countries, and in the oceans. In contrast, scientific information about biodiversity is largely concentrated in major centres in developed countries, especially in the scientific collections of the world's natural history museums, herbaria and microorganismal repositories. GBIF will provide access to this treasure-trove of data from anywhere in the world.

The GBIF project will be funded by participating countries and organizations. A small staff will work actively with database developers around the world, and will develop innovative tools for accessing, linking and searching biodiversity databases.

As a result of today's meeting, countries and intergovernmental organizations will be invited to become partners in this grand initiative to create a global capacity for accessing biodiversity data. GBIF will provide search access to millions of biodiversity records located in hundreds of databases located around the globe. Through the GBIF portal, users will have cutting-edge search engines to find their way through this multitude of data interactively and in real time.

GBIF will be an important tool for protection, management and sustainable use of biological resources worldwide. It will also aid in advancing education and scientific research in a host of areas, including conservation biology, agriculture, and biomedicine; in serving the economic and quality-of-life interests of society; and in providing a basis from which our knowledge of the natural world can grow rapidly and in a manner that avoids duplication of effort and expenditure.

Further information about GBIF can be found at the GBIF web site (

Please note that this information has expired.