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The Global Biodiversity Facility GBIF is an inter-governmental organization borned in 2001 that currently comprises 53 governments and 43 international organizations. GBIF is a network of national nodes with an international mandate settled in Copenhagen. The main goal of GBIF is to provide free and open online access to global biodiversity data supporting at the same time scientific research, conservation and sustainable development.

GBIF has its origin in 1996, when an OECD working group called "Mega Science Forum Working Group" started to launch scientific initiatives of fundamental interest, but which were not viable for any country due to its extent. In this forum the concept of GBIF arose with the idea of applying informatics to manage information derived from nature. GBIF was constituted formally in 2001.

In the 17th Meeting of the Governing Board of (GBIF) that took place in October 2010 in Suwon (Korea), it was approved a new, open-ended Memorandum of Understanding (to be signed by all GBIF Participants from 2012) and a budget for the organisation covering the period 2012 – 2016. Delegations  furthermore unanimously adopted the GBIF Suwon Declaration that underlines the importance of the GBIF network to governments and its relevance to science, conservation and sustainability.

Nowadays, GBIF priorities are focused on species and specimen-level data and within this level, the collections are its first priority. The four working programmes of GBIF going on at the moment are:

  1. Data access and data base interoperability - DADI.
  2. Electronic catalogue of names of Known Organisms - ECAT.
  3. Digitization of nature history collections - DIGIT.
  4. Outreach and capacity building - OCB.

GBIF is evolving into an interoperable network of biodiversity databases, aiming to be a basic tool for the scientific development of any country and will contribute in a significant way to better protection and use of global biodiversity.

GBIF in Spain...

 GBIF Principles

  • Providers retain control over their own data
  • Protection of intellectual property rights
  • Long-term, distributed open facility and architecture.
 GBIF Work Programmes

Schema of the area responsabilities of GBIF GBIF activities are organised in six integrated thematic areas put into practice through diverse work programmes:

  • Digitization of Natural History Collections (DIGIT)
  • Data Access and Data Base Interoperability (DADI)
  • Electronic Catalogue of Names of Known Organisms (ECAT)
  • Outreach and Capacity Building (OCB)
  • Digital Biodiversity Literature Resources (DILIB, not started yet).
  • 'Species Banks' which deals with taxon-level information: descriptions, images, identification keys, etc. (SB, not started yet).
 GBIF Structure

  • The Governing Board of GBIF represents all the member states as well as associated states and organisations.
  • The GBIF Secretariat, hosted in Copenhagen, coordinates the GBIF activities and provides support to the Participant Nodes.
  • The Participant Nodes are established by each GBIF member country. They are responsible for the main effort of achieving the GBIF objectives.

GBIF Participants have signed the Memorandum of Understanding, they support network Nodes through which they provide biodiversity data, which are turn --among others-- gateways of biodiversity information.

 More information on GBIF Initiative

GBIF DocumentsTo obtain further information on GBIF initiative, please visit:

  1. GBIF Secretariat communications web portal
  2. If you want information about GBIF activities in Spain, please follow this link.

Other DOCUMENTS with interesting information about GBIF:


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GBIF-ES is the Spanish node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility
sponsored by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, managed
by the Spanish National Research Council throught its
Royal Botanical Garden-CSIC
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