October 03, 2014 - OBISGBIF network

GBIF and IOC signed agreement of cooperation

A new collaboration between the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) aims to improve the volume and quality of information available to policy makers for conservation and sustainable use of the ocean’s biological resources. The two institutions have signed a Letter of Agreement which recognizes IOC-UNESCO as a GBIF Affiliate and GBIF as an IODE Associate Data Unit. See more at:

The agreement promotes and facilitates closer collaboration between GBIF and IOC-UNESCO’s International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange/Ocean Biogeographic Information System (IODE/OBIS), specializing in marine biodiversity data. Recognizing the two initiatives as complementary with common goals on the management, publication and use of biodiversity data, the agreement’s specific goals include:

Under the agreement, GBIF Secretariat will also become an IODE Associate Data Unit or ADU, making it part of the programme’s network of institutions sharing data, information and best practices.

Welcoming the agreement, GBIF’s Executive Secretary Donald Hobern commented: “OBIS has made a major contribution to the mobilization of marine biodiversity data, and has always been a natural partner for GBIF in our common endeavour to improve the information available to researchers and decision makers. This new collaboration will build on our respective strengths and networks, and the affiliation of IOC/UNESCO to GBIF’s community will further strengthen the contribution we can make to global action in support of the world’s oceans.”

Wendy Watson-Wright, IOC-UNESCO Executive Secretary and Assistant Director General UNESCO commented: “From their early start, back in 2001, OBIS and GBIF have been close partners, and together were pioneers in providing open access to biodiversity data and information and in setting standards and best practices. The importance of knowledge of the ocean’s biodiversity to national and global environmental policies was recognised by the IOC Member States when they adopted OBIS from the Census of Marine Life in 2009. GBIF, as well as OBIS, are strong and still growing networks, each holding an increasing amount of biodiversity data. They also continue to gain importance in support of the delivery of timely and accurate information on the health of our Planet, including the Ocean. This new collaboration between GBIF and OBIS is timely and necessary to meet these growing expectations - it will benefit everyone”.