The Freshwater Research Centre (FRC) in South Africa will host a 3-day workshop funded by JRS so that leaders of projects developing freshwater biodiversity information systems may share experiences and plan future collaboration. This Workshop for African Freshwater Information System Projects will be held in Cape Town, South Africa from 25 to 27 March 2020, and include participants from JRS-funded projects, private sector partners, and experts from South Africa, Europe and Australia. A full list of participants is included on the workshop web page.
Freshwater resources in Africa are insecure in quantity and quality, and water resource development is a high priority for governments and international donors. JRS’ Freshwater Biodiversity & Resources Program funds initiatives that monitor freshwater biodiversity in priority areas for resource conservation and increase data access for policy and investment decision making. There are currently about 10 JRS grantees developing freshwater biodiversity information systems, mobilizing data, creating partnerships to ensure sustainability, and developing tools for reporting on freshwater biodiversity data. Some projects are further along in their journey and there are variations among countries regarding the approach for system development, availability of existing data, and types of end-users.
The aim of this workshop is for participants to share knowledge, expertise, and lessons learned from existing information systems and the projects associated with them, and explore avenues for inter-project collaborations. It will include demonstrations of existing platforms and presentations of freshwater biodiversity projects. The program will focus on data challenges, technical design, and stakeholder engagement, and culminate with the establishment of an African bioinformatics forum to promote continued knowledge-sharing and collaboration. Funding from JRS will support the workshop venue and facilitator, publications and outreach, and travel and accommodation costs for approximately 30 participants. The synergies that exist among the projects, and the improved technical roadmaps that result, will support successful information system development and sustainability.