Overview of current activities
The RBINSOne of the missions of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, as a scientific institution, is to inventory and study biodiversity.
International cooperation is a crucial element for the protection of biodiversity and for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The RBINS signed in 2003 a specific convention with the Belgian Development Cooperation, through its Directorate General for Development Cooperation. Its general objective is to improve the knowledge on biodiversity, in order to
- strengthen the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity,
- help countries in the South reach a better implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Biodiversity webmaster training in Burundi (2005)
Thematic areasIn the period 2003-2007, partnerships have been established in four main thematic areas:
- the improvement of the exchange of information on biodiversity, thanks to the application of new information technologies (under the umbrella of the Clearing-House Mechanism),
- the increase in taxonomic knowledge and expertise, via research projects, training programmes and the establishment of taxonomic manuals (as part of the Global Taxonomy Initiative),
- the valorisation of archive data collected during scientific expeditions in countries of the South, so that historical information can serve as a basis for modern conservation activities (with a focus on the National Parks of DR Congo),
- the setting up of public awareness programmes on biodiversity in the partner countries.
In the future five-year programme 2008-2012, we will also get involved more actively in partnerships for the conservation of protected areas.
Geographic areasThe RBINS has established partnerships worldwide. These partnerships often stem from demands that we have received from our collaborators in the South.
During the period 2003-2007, we did not apply geographic restrictions in our partnerships. We worked with the following regions:
- Exchange of information: mainly in Africa (all sub-regions).
- Taxonomic knowledge and expertise: Africa, Asia, South America and the Carribean.
- Archives: DR Congo.
- Public awareness: Cambodia, Guyana and several African countries.
Painting a wall on the Sam Veasna Center for Wildlife Conservation,
for public awareness on biodiversity(Siem Reap, Cambodia 2005)
Training activitiesThe capacity building programme concentrates on the training of professionals from universities, scientific institutions and administrations.
- Exchange of information: training of National Focal Points for the Convention on Biological Diversity and for the Clearing-House Mechanism (often executives from administrations) in the use of new technologies for information and communication. Workshops in Belgium and abroad. The number of trainees has increased from a few per year in the period 1999-2002, to about 60 in 2005 and 2006, thanks to the organisation of regional and national training sessions.
Photo CHM training: Burundi 2005: Website management exercises on the computer
- Taxonomic knowledge and expertise: training of scientists, technicians, parataxonomists and students in theoretical and practical issues in the field of taxonomy. Study stays in Belgium and workshops abroad. Requests for taxonomic training are also on the rise: from 11 applications in 2004 to 62 in 2006 and 61 in 2007. Each year, we organise between 10 to 15 study stays in Belgium and a few workshops abroad. RBINS researchers also participate in the training of local scientists during their exploratory missions in the South.
Photo GTI training - 1: Field training in Guyana 2004 (processing of samples)
Photo GTI training - 2: Field training in Thaïland 2005 (inventory techniques)
Photo GTI training - 3: Theoretical course in Cuba 2006 (busy doing an exercise on classification)
Photo GTI training - 4: Theoretical course in Cuba 2006 (results of the exercise on classification)
Photo GTI training - 5: Theoretical course in Cuba 2006 (group picture)
Processing the archives on DR Congo
Photo 1: Photographic archive on the Garamba National Park
Photo 2: Historical publication on the Garamba National Park
Photo 3: At work locating the photographic archives on a map
Further readingA more comprehensive overview of the RBINS activities in Guyana:
Information on the RBINS activities as Belgian National Focal Point to the Convention on Biological Diversity