With funding from JRS Biodiversity Foundation and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) under the Biodiversity Information for Development (BID) programme, Conservation Alliance and its implementing partners, A Rocha Ghana, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); and the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) officially launched the BID-AF2020-029-USE project at an inception meeting held in Accra, Ghana on July 26, 2021. The purpose of the inception meeting was to introduce the project to key stakeholders including its objectives, implementation plan, and the role of stakeholders (i.e. data holders, data users, policy makers) in the project implementation.
The project “Integrating ecosystem and biodiversity data to assist national development planning” seeks to integrate off-reserve, Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs) and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) into government decision making processes. The lead implementing organization is Conservation Alliance International, an environmental organization with a mandate to conserve global biodiversity. According to the project coordinator, Yaw Osei-Owusu, the project is expected to mobilize more than 30,000 occurrence and checklist data records from off-reserve areas on priority endemic, economically important and threatened species; invasive alien species and lesser known taxa of flora and fauna in order to develop information products for public policy uptake.
The Director of Environment, MESTI, Mr. Justice Dery thanked JRS Biodiversity Foundation and GBIF for funding the project and promised that the ministry will use the information products developed from the project in the revision of Ghana’s NBSAPs and other biodiversity related policies in the country. The project inception launch brought together over 40 institutions and individuals involved on bioinformatics in Ghana. Participants were educated on the relevance of biodiversity information for development and the roles of JRS and GBIF have played over the years in ensuring that biodiversity data and information remain freely accessible for policy decision making. Participants validated the draft biodiversity mobilization plan developed by the project team to ensure that they address the needs of the users and respond appropriately to the project deliverables.
On his part, the National Coordinator of the Biodiversity Information Management Forum (BIMF)-Ghana, Raymond Owusu-Achiaw also expressed his outfit commitment to the successful implementation of the project. The BIMF serves as a platform for bioinformatics coordination for data holders and end users in Ghana.