Taxonomy and systematics are the basis of recognizing and understanding biodiversity and fundamental for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI), established by the Conference of the Parties, assists Parties where taxonomic capacity is limited (taxonomic impediment) to implement the CBD's broad thematic programmes. Removing the taxonomic impediment requires long-term commitments to attain taxonomic knowledge and skills to discover and ascertain the components of biodiversity and analyse their status in the environment.
We are in the Anthropocene, a time where climate change and unprecedented biodiversity loss threaten Earth’s sustainability and health. To address the impacts of human activities on the planet, we must increase our knowledge of our natural ecosystems and production systems. The hard lessons we are learning from the COVID-19 pandemic aspire us to build back better. To ensure our ecosystems services are secure for future generations, we must deepen, broadly share and apply our accumulated knowledge in scientific and taxonomic institutions across all sectors.
Thanks to Parties, taxonomic institutions, expert consortia and countless citizen scientists, the fifth edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook revealed that good progress was made over the last decade to share biodiversity knowledge (Aichi Biodiversity Target 19). To further enhance our global efforts towards the 2050 vision, Living in Harmony with Nature, we need to develop and sustain expertise in all regions by filling the capacity gaps among Parties in line with the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at the CBD's fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties.
This CBD Technical Series contains outcomes of the GTI Forum 2020 held virtually from 2 to 4 December 2020 and co-hosted by the Government of Germany through the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. It highlights the scientific tools, capacity development activities and services available to Parties with advice from taxonomic experts. Many such experts have served as GTI national focal points or as Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) national focal points under the Convention. Successful examples of capacity and infrastructure development, achieved through international collaboration, can provide insight for further generations and help build evidence-based and effective conservation globally.
It is expected that this CBD Technical Series issue will be useful to Parties and experts to further enhance and implement GTI activities, across sectors, in the upcoming decade of the post-2020 framework.
The CBD Secretariat acknowledges with gratitude that this issue was prepared collectively through the submissions of up-to-date information, through the Global Taxonomy Initiative Forum 2020, on the activities undertaken by the GTI community. The information was reviewed by selected participants in the Forum, previously approved by the Bureau of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice. Thanks to Secretariat staff, in particular Dr. Junko Shimura and Dr. Katie Millette, for their substantial contributions.