Training held to improve biodiversity data publishing in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region

A two-day regional training on Biodiversity Data Publishing in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) Region: Platform, Progress, and Prospect was organized 23–24 August in Kathmandu, Nepal, to increase the understanding and awareness of regional and global platforms used for publishing biodiversity data, including the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA), and ICIMOD’s HKH Conservation Portal. The training also highlighted data publishing prospects and implications for research and policy making, and it created networking opportunities for data providers across the HKH region. When utilized, the knowledge gained by participants during the training will make biodiversity data from the HKH region more accessible to a wider audience. It will also lead to demand-driven data publishing and data analysis, which is necessary for informed decision making on biodiversity management. 

The training familiarized participants with the GBIF, ICIMOD, and GMBA biodiversity informatics platforms and networks, and gave them an opportunity to practise publishing country-specific data using GBIF’s Integrated Publishing Toolkit, hosted at ICIMOD as the HKH-BIF (Hindu Kush Himalayan Biodiversity Information Facility). The training aimed to make biodiversity data (e.g., species checklists and occurrence information) more accessible to a wider audience through global publishing, as well as to incentivize the process of data discovery, data mining, and data publishing through the development of a scholarly data paper. As a follow-up, a regional paper on the Status of Endangered, Endemic, and Invasive Species in the HKH Region has been proposed with interest from regional member countries. Regional member countries have suggested that ICIMOD formalize the publishing relevant biodiversity data as well as the assembly of the data paper through formal, country-specific procedures. 

The training, which was organized by ICIMOD in collaboration with Global Biodiversity Information Facility and Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment in Kathmandu, Nepal, was attended by 22 participants from ICIMOD’s eight regional member countries, including representatives of government organizations, universities, research institutes, and INGOs. Dr Vishwas Chavan (GBIF), Dr Eva Spehn (GMBA), Dr Falk Huettmann (University of Alaska), Dr Yu-Huang Wang (Taiwan-BIF), and Dr Gautam Talukdar (Indian-BIF) were present as external resource persons.