Biodiversity Information Management Forum (BIMF)

The first Biodiversity Information Management Forum (BIMF) was launched in Malawi from 29th to 30th May, 2018 at Malawi Sun Hotel in Blantyre. BIMF provides a platform for biodiversity data holding institutions (researchers) and biodiversity data users to meet and discuss best management of Biodiversity data in order to contribute to sustainable development in the country. The workshop attracted several stakeholders from government institutions, Non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

The Director of Environmental Affairs Ms. Tawonga Mbale  Luka who presided over the workshop pointed out that BIMF is a contribution to National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP) II target 1; to generate enough information to enhance conservation of biodiversity in Malawi which contributes to economic and well-being of Malawi. Furthermore, she said that the forum was timely as it will help to enhance availability and accessibility of the biodiversity information in Malawi. She highlighted the need to support the generation of quality biodiversity data in Malawi ensuring that the data is also compatible to the international standard. To make impact in the Malawi Sustainable Development Goals III, we need quality data to feed in. Ms. Mbale noted that high quality data will contribute to reliable reporting on biodiversity status in Malawi. Let us use this platform to develop synergies to maximize the impact and to effectively use the available resources by avoiding duplication of the data that is mobilized.

It is expected that through BIMF, there is going to be a well-coordinated biodiversity data management system which will ensure standardized data collection, formatting, sharing and accessibility. National Commission for Science and Technology is a Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) node and has already installed an Information Publication Toolkit (IPT) for publication of biodiversity data in Malawi. The IPT will ensure a centralized and monitored biodiversity data publication site for GBIF Malawi.

JRS and SANBI encouraged all stakeholders to take part in spearheading the purpose of the BIMF in Malawi by providing the necessary support. Regular meetings and coordination of BIMF will help Malawi’s biodiversity status report reflect the reality on the ground.

BIMF was convened by Environmental Affairs Department in collaboration with African Biodiversity Challenge Project (ABC) team from Museums of Malawi, National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens of Malawi, National Commission for Science and Technology, and Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi.