Conservation International Foundation
GDSA Country Policy and Bioinformatics Projects Review
Ten African countries are official signatories of the Gabarone Declaration of Sustainability in Africa (GDSA), an effort to build a sustainable future in sub-Saharan Africa. The governments of these nations share a vision of public, private, and independent sectors working together to better understand, value, and sustainably manage their renewable natural capital. However, the group recognizes the need for better baseline knowledge and has asked Conservation International (CI) to evaluate and articulate the current situation in each country with respect to natural capital accounting and policy. In support of that effort, this project seeks to review and catalog the existing policies in each country which influence the creation, use, and value of biodiversity data and information.
Key Objectives and Activities
The study of the 10 GDSA countries will focus on investigating four primary questions:
- How is biodiversity data currently used to support conservation commitments and monitoring?
- What policies enhance the impact and sustainability of biodiversity informatics projects?
- What policies influence the quantity, quality, and use of biodiversity data and knowledge?
- What lessons can GDSA countries learn about best practices and future recommendations from these findings?
To answer these questions, CI will conduct a literature review to identify policies in these countries that deal with the use, creation, and value of biodiversity information and build an accessible, searchable database of these policies. They will also conduct key informant interviews with government officials, GDSA focal persons, and leading researchers to better understand the policy landscapes in these countries.
- Comprehensive database of (1) policies in GDSA countries that relate to the use, creation, and value of biodiversity information and data; (2) biodiversity informatics projects that have been carried out in GDSA countries and how to access results; and (3) ecosystem assessments, natural capital accounting, species population census, and similar projects in GDSA countries.
- Final report and article in peer-reviewed international journal.
- Dissemination, presentation, and discussion of results at annual GDSA conference.
CI envisions GDSA countries using the reports and databases to generate discussion about existing policies and practices, develop a shared understanding of best practices, and assist with future planning. The project will support these countries in their work to improve regional biodiversity governance and support national commitments to biodiversity monitoring and conservation. The GDSA secretariat will use the products of this project to promote information-sharing and among countries and to facilitate these nations in a process of creating roadmaps for enabling effective data generation, maintenance, and use.
Project Director Biography
Ms. Wame L. Hambira holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Economics from the University of York (UK). Of the 13 years of work experience Ms. Hambira has in the environmental field, eight were spent as an academic at the University of Botswana with research and publishing as one of her key performance areas. She currently works as Environment Policy Manager for Conservation International based in Botswana. Wame serves as a link between CI and Government of Botswana on matters related to the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa. Her portfolio entails: analyzing national and sub-regional policy frameworks to identify gaps in mainstreaming Natural Capital Accounting, biodiversity conservation and green economies and proposing strategies for moving forward.
Notes from JRS
JRS is excited to support this research by Conservation International in a context where there will immediate interest in and use of the information by the GDSA Secretariat and inter-governmental process. We also aim to learn whether and how a better understanding the policy context for biodiversity information will be valuable to Conservation International’s work in the GDSA countries.
Policy research like this is an important new area of grantmaking for JRS, with the aim of better understanding the policy and decision-making context surrounding technical efforts related to biodiversity data and information in the regions where we work. JRS is interested in supporting this work in order to:
- Generate greater interest among policy researchers in the topic of biodiversity informatics
- Allow JRS and other funders to make wise investments in biodiversity data with greater information about enabling context and institutions
- Help countries learn from each other about effective regulation and use of biodiversity information
This investment is one of several efforts funded by JRS including grants to African Technology Policy Studies Network and the Institute of Policy and Research Rwanda that aim to enrich the understanding of the interplay among public policy, access to biodiversity data, and decision-making. We also hope that this work will inform and intersect with the effort by the South African National Biodiversity Institute aimed at mobilizing South Africa’s biodiversity data.
Last Updated: February 28th, 2017