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Brazil joins global initiative for biodiversity data access

Copenhagen / Braslia Brazil has become the latest country to join the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), dedicated to promoting free and open access to biodiversity data.

The formal step of becoming a GBIF Participant was the signature of the GBIF Memorandum of Understanding by the Brazilian Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Marco Antonio Raupp.

The MoU commits a country to setting up a national node to coordinate publication of biodiversity data, and brings it into a collaborative global community sharing tools, skills and experience related to management of biological information resources.

The Chair of GBIF's Governing Board, Joanne Daly, said: "This is very exciting, and all Participants in GBIF will share the excitement. Many countries see Brazil's participation in GBIF as vital to global efforts in biodiversity conservation and management.

"Not only is Brazil one of the most biodiverse countries, its scientists are some of the most active in biodiversity science and make an impressive global contribution."

Carlos Nobre, national secretary for policies and programmes at the Brazilian ministry of science, technology and innovation (MCTI), commented: "In the year of Rio +20, Brazil more than ever is making a firm commitment to direct our policies towards sustainable development.

"This leads inevitably towards scientific knowledge about our natural resources, most especially regarding biodiversity. Knowledge to protect, knowledge to use sustainably. The official association of the country with GBIF is a sign of the importance of knowledge for the management of our immense natural resources."

Mercedes Bustamante, director of thematic policies and programmes at the MCTI, added:

"For Brazil, this significant step represents an opportunity for cooperation in development of the generation and management of knowledge about our biodiversity and natural resources.

"In this way, the country can enhance the capacity for mobilization, interconnection and sharing of the diverse types of data from different sources included in GBIF, and so contribute from a scientific standpoint to the conservation of biodiversity."

Brazil is estimated to contain some 15 per cent of the entire biodiversity of the planet, in seven biomes (the Amazon, Caatinga semi-arid zone, Cerrado woodland-savanna, Pampa grasslands, the Atlantic Forest and the coastal and marine zone).

Even before Brazil's participation in GBIF, more than 1.6 million records relating to Brazilian biodiversity have been accessible through the GBIF Data Portal, published from over 700 datasets held in 28 countries (see

With the move to participation, many times this number of digital records documenting the country's exceptional variety of plants, animals and other organisms can be published through GBIF from Brazilian research institutions, museums, herbaria and observational networks.

The aim of the country is to share experiences through GBIF and establish an interface with the Information System for Brazilian Biodiversity and Ecosystems (SIB-Br), a project of the MCTI, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), involving an investment of US$28 million.

Brazilian scientists have already been significant users of data published through GBIF: in the past three years, at least 18 peer-reviewed research papers with authors from Brazil have cited use of GBIF-mediated data. Globally, on average around four peer-reviewed papers are published each week using data accessed via the GBIF network.

  • Initially, Brazil joins GBIF as an Associate Participant, which means that although it can participate fully in data publishing and capacity building projects, it does not make a financial contribution to the global GBIF budget and does not hold a vote in the Governing Board. On signing the MoU as an Associate Participant, a country commits to moving towards voting participation within five years.
  • Brazil joins Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Uruguay as GBIF Participants in Latin America.

Contact: Sampreethi Aipanjiguly
Global Biodiversity Information Facility

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