BioNET-INTERNATIONAL was conceived in anticipation of a taxonomic crisis expected in the developing world in 1993/4 following the greatly increased demand for taxonomy occasioned by commitments to UNCED at Rio in 1992, and by the coincidental withdrawal of the free taxonomic services of the expert centres of the developed nations, upon which developing countries had been heavily dependant for almost 100 years.

It was (correctly) predicted in the early 1990s that the situation described above would leave developing countries with little or no taxonomic capacity at the very time when they most needed it for sustainable development, conservation and wise use of biodiversity.

It was recognised by governments that some technically sound and cost-effective mechanism was needed to build taxonomic capacity in the developed world as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible.

BioNET-INTERNATIONAL, based on a series of inter-linked technical cooperation networks in developing countries, supported by technical cooperation programmes with donor partnerships, was seen by governments and development agencies as the best means of meeting this need.

The BioNET concept was endorsed in July 1993 at a meeting of representatives of, the various sub-regions of the developing world, the major expert centres of developed countries, some international organisations and UN agencies and some donors, who under the Chairmanship of Dr M.S. Swaminathan established the BioNET-INTERNATIONAL Consultative Group (BICG) to promote and foster this network

BioNET-INTERNATIONAL was launched at that time by the BICG through CAB International with Professor Tecwyn Jones serving as Chairman of its Coordinating Committee (BICC) and Director of the Technical Secretariat (TECSEC).

Since then, at the request of the governments concerned TECSEC has conducted Feasibility Studies and organised LOOP Formulation Workshops, and prepared Formal Proposals for the establishment and operation of LOOPs in six sub-regions of the developing world. It subsequently assisted governments to create LOOPs and to initiate and sustain their operations. These and other activities were made possible through financial assistance from various donor agencies including SDC, DFID, UNESCO, UNDP, DGIS, DANCED, SAREC/SIDA, the Commonwealth Secretariat and CTA (of the European Union) amongst others.