Workshop participants
November 18, 2022
Island and Ocean Ecosystems

The sharing of biodiversity data is at the core of a regional workshop held at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) from 14 – 18 November 2022. Participants from across the Pacific gathered in Apia to learn how to share their data on the GBIF network and use data for better decision making

GBIF, is an open-data research tool funded by various governments from around the world, which aims to provide free and open access to biodiversity data to the public. A Memorandum of Understanding between SPREP and GBIF established the first GBIF Participant Node in the Pacific in 2017. This node enables SPREP Member countries and territories to publish their biodiversity data directly to GBIF and tasks SPREP with strengthening GBIF-related activities of its Member governments and stakeholders. The workshop also set out to increase representation from the Pacific on the GBIF governing board. Tonga is the only Pacific nation currently registered as a Voting Participant within GBIF.

The workshop also introduced participants to the Pacific Biodiversity Information Facility (PBIF). PBIF presents all the biodiversity data currently on GBIF from Pacific island countries and territories.

This workshop was designed to strengthen the capacity of Pacific island countries and territories in the process required to publish high quality data. There are many benefits to this which include, giving visibility to the work on biodiversity in the Pacific, opportunities for collaboration across the region, and tracking the usage and citations and contribute to global knowledge on biodiversity

Wide participation from across the Pacific was achieved with representatives from government agencies, non-governmental organisations, and academia. When participants were asked what they wanted to achieve from the workshop, Mr. Jake Taoi, Conservation Officer from Nature Fiji MareqetiViti said, “I work with many different datasets, this workshop will give some insight into the due diligence that needs to happen before publishing”.

All representatives were requested to bring a dataset to work with throughout the week. Vertnet representative, Mr David Bloom highlighted the importance of the workshop to learn new skills in data management, “participants had the opportunity to work on their datasets with our guidance on the digitisation and publishing process, which is crucial in ensuring high quality data”. The datasets published this week will contribute to the existing six million records available on PBIF.

The workshop ended on 18 November with sixteen consortium partner representatives having received technical training in planning and implementing data digitisation according to GBIF standards. Thirteen PBIF ambassadors have been inducted into the PBIF ambassador programme. Pacific nations now can now contact PBIF ambassadors near them for assistance in using the PBIF platform.

The training sessions were facilitated by the SPREP Invasive Species Team and Mr.David Bloom of Vertnet, and is part of the ongoing efforts by SPREP to support its member countries by providing capacity building opportunities in biodiversity data management.

For further information on GBIF, visit:

This project is part of the Biodiversity Information Development (BID) programme funded by the European Union and delivered by SPREP.  For more information on these projects, please contact Mr Bradley Myer on [email protected].