Taxonomic Needs Assessment Projects:
Project 1: Global Assessment - Invasive Alien Species
Project 2: National Assessment - Ghana
BioNET and the Natural History Museum, London (NHM
) are working in partnership to carry out taxonomic needs assessments in support of sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. The work is supported by the WSSD Implementation Fund (WIF
) of the UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra
The NHM is the UK’s National Focal Point for the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI
) of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD
). BioNET has been recognised by parties to the CBD for its experience and expertise with needs assessments. Operational Objective 1 of the GTI Programme of Work calls for needs assessments at national, regional and global levels.
BioNET / NHM assessment projects focus first on needs identification rather than capacity assessments. The aim is to present governments, taxonomic institutions, relevant agencies and funding bodies with a coordinated, user oriented basis for allocating resources effectively.
To date, of the taxonomic assessments that have been carried out around the world, most have been taxonomic capacity assessments. They have identified gaps in capacity to conduct taxonomic research and specified what financial, human or material resources are needed to conduct taxonomic work. Yet, the question of who will make use of the particular outputs and research is rarely explicitly considered. In contrast, the purpose of taxonomic needs assessments is first, to identify the taxonomic deliverables required by practitioners in health, agriculture, conservation etc., second, to prioritise these and third, to specify the capacity needed to deliver these outputs. Only taxonomic needs assessments can identify priority needs and allow resources to be focused on supporting the production of relevant taxonomic products.
The users of taxonomic resources are the primary focus of consultation in BioNET / NHM needs assessments. The greater the proportion of non-taxonomist users involved, the more the assessment will be a true reflection of user needs and result in the delivery of appropriate products. The methodology is based on the UK Taxonomic Needs Assessment
, which identified taxonomic information required for biodiversity conservation in the UK, including the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. Other examples of previous user oriented assessments comprise the Southern African Botanical Diversity Network (SABONET
) and BioNET-ASEANET’s assessments for Plant Pathogenic Organisms and Arthropod Pests in SE Asia (Evans et al. 2002
, Naumann & Jusoh, 2002)
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