Collaboration between SANBI scientists and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Biodiversity Conservation in Colombia

25 December 2017

By Domitilla Raimondo

Over the past two years SANBI has been reaching out to learn from sister biodiversity conservation and research institutions based in other megadiverse countries. In 2016 a highly successful learning exchange was conducted with Mexico’s Biodiversity Commission CONABIO.

During 2017 SANBI’s Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring team initiated an exchange with Colombia’s Alexander von Humboldt Biodiversity Institute. In July 2017, Humboldt hosted SANBI staff in Bogota Colombia, and ran a workshop that compared each institution’s current capacities and approaches to biodiversity observation and assessment.  We learned that both South Africa and Colombia’s biodiversity institutes have similar interests and needs, but different strengths and weaknesses – thus combining capacities and sharing technologies and experience can result in speeding up our implementation of effective biodiversity observation, information and assessment systems. 

Following the workshop, staff from SANBI’s Threatened Species Unit stayed on and conducted training for Humboldt staff and other Colombian biodiversity conservation and research institution officials in species assessments. The training was highly successful with many Colombian biologists being trained for the first time in IUCN Red List species assessment methodologies. Following this training Colombia has formed a new IUCN Colombian Plant Specialist Group to work on species assessments and conservation actions for endemic plants.

During the last quarter of 2017 the Humboldt Institute applied for funding via the Convention on Biological Diversity’s BioBridge Fund to continue the exchange with SANBI and Mexico’s CONABIO  biodiversity institute (both SANBI and the Humboldt have a Memorandum of Understanding with CONABIO). This BioBridge project has been selected for funding and will focus on two areas of work: i) capacity exchange on the development of biodiversity information architectures and ii) developing criteria for assessing the functional resilience of ecosystems using species data. Given the progress in collaboration between the institutions,  Humboldt have invited SANBI to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure ongoing collaboration and exchange. SANBI will sign this MOU in early 2018.  

Red Listing training of Colombian Biologists

Red Listing training of Colombian Biologists by Domitilla Raimondo and Dewidine van der Colff of SANBI’s Threatened Species Unit. 

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