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Strengthening Capacities in Central America for the Generation, Management, Analysis, Publication, and Use of Biodiversity Information

Project title Strengthening Capacities in Central America for the Generation, Management, Analysis, Publication, and Use of Biodiversity Information 
Implementing Institutions - National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) – (Costa Rica)
- Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School – (Honduras)
- Entomological Museum of Leon (MEL) – (Nicaragua)
- Regional Biodiversity Institute (IRBio) - (Honduras)
Country(ies) Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua y Panamá
Abstract The project proposes to develop capacity in Central America on Biodiversity Informatics (BI), leveraging opportunities such as the existing integration of the countries within the IRBio framework; the experience of INBio on BI; the free software developed by initiatives such as ALA and GBIF; and the support of a developers community aiming at adapting the ALA portal to other countries needs. The strength of the project lies on adapting existing technology to the needs of the region, and on devoting the greatest effort to capacity building, sustainability and participation of several sectors.
Project Description The growth of human populations and economies of the Central American Region (CA) increases pressure on natural resources and biodiversity, on which we depend for living. Having access to objective information that is based on reliable standardized data is an absolute necessity to allow individuals and institutions to analyze and use it to achieve their goals.


At the global level, sharing open and free information on biodiversity is a priority subject, thus allowing a large range of providers and users to collect, analyze and use data for various purposes (i.e. GBIF).  CA, despite having participated at several regional and national projects in this line has uneven capacity in the topic of BI.   Some countries such as Costa Rica have made progress, but the rest of the region has taken several shyer steps on the topic. However, increasingly, both public and private organizations recognize the importance of sharing and using the existing biodiversity data to achieve their task.


The objective of this project is to strengthen capacity in CA on BI through training workshops, exchange of experiences, and a data portal, to provide integrated free access to biodiversity information, in order to support research, education, and biodiversity management processes.


The project is aligned with priority 4 of IPBES Capacity Building Forum (Improve capacity for access data, information and knowledge) and covers needs 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4 and 4.6.  For the sustainability of the initiative, free software will be used, and institutions of recognized trajectory in CA will be involved.

Project Objectives and expected Achievables OBJ. 1.  To adapt an open and free access data portal to the needs of the region, in order to allow a flow of quality information from the data providers toward users and vice versa.

Results: A data portal on Central America biodiversity based on free software, with free and open access available to the general public. 

Measurement Indicators:

- Data portal available on the Internet deployed on free software, with free, and open access to the general public.  

- A web Site with information and documents (workshops materials, news, forums, among others) about the initiative available on the Internet.

Timeline:  Month 1 – month 8.

OBJ. 2 To conduct training workshops to build capacity in the Central American region on subjects related to the methodologies and information technologies used for generation, management, integration, analysis, dissemination, and use of biodiversity information; for example, topics related to data digitization, geographic information systems (GIS), data cleaning, standards used by the international community for integrating biological data, using the portal developed for Central America and examples of scientific assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Results: A plan for capacity building on biodiversity informatics is defined and executed.

Measurement Indicators:  

- Capacity development plan is defined together with the institutions participating in the implementation of the project.

- Capacity development plan is executed (schedule of workshops, participant lists and materials are available on the web site of the project).

- Development of a biodiversity informatics workshop per country.

- At least 350 users of the Central American region are trained in the use of BI protocols, standards, and tools.

Timeline:  Month 9 – Month 23.

OBJ. 3 To provide citizens and local organizations of the Central American region with integrated, objective and open access biodiversity information to perform analysis of relevance to projects aimed at achieving sustainable human development.


- Decision-makers, technicians, scientists, students, organizations and citizens in general have access to information on Central American biodiversity and its conservation.

Measurement Indicators:

- At least 8 million occurrence records of species in the region are integrated into the portal from the GBIF repository.

- At least one institution in each country digitizes biodiversity data (occurrence records).

- At least one data publisher per country is contributing data to the GBIF portal and the Central American Biodiversity Information Portal.

- At least two countries are providing 600 digital documents on biodiversity of the region.

Timeline:  Month 3 – Month 24.

Timeframe 2 years
Geographic Scale Multinational
Seeking Resources for: Project implementation
Type of Resources/Support needed: Financial, Technical