Building a global infrastructure for biodiversity data. Together.

Biodiversity – the variety of life on the planet – is essential for our survival and well being on Earth. We literally live and breath nature. Only if nature thrives, man can thrive.

Time is running out…
For centuries, naturalists and biologists have collected specimens and recorded observations about life on Earth. But it is going too slow. Till now, we’ve only found a fraction of all species that exist and time is running out. Many, many species will have disappeared even before we have found them.

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This conference is addressing the question: how do we proceed from here. How do we stop biodiversity loss? How can we speed up our research? How can we predict how climate change will affect global biodiversity? What new science do we need? What new techniques? What new policies?

Data(bases) need to be improved
Science is evolving rapidly. Genomics, the digital revolution, artificial intelligence, big data, it will help us greatly to move ahead much quicker and much more effective than we have been able to do so far. And we are not starting from scratch. Hundreds of thousands of scientists and volunteers have built up thousands of databases that record biodiversity and geodiversity all over the world. But the use of these data needs to be improved. They are scattered, incomplete and often have restricted availability.

Better data, better science, better solutions
We foresee a future where all these biodiversity data are combined, linked and disseminated to everyone throughout the world who needs or can use them. Achieving this goal will help us to make rational and timely decisions to support a sustainable future. Because better data leads to better science, and better science leads to better solutions and policies.

We want to build a worldwide network of biodiversity data. This network will encompass all existing biodiversity databases, tools and knowledge.

This conference brings together – for the first time – the major worldwide players to make this happen.

By commission of the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Naturalis Biodiversity Center in collaboration with the Netherlands Biodiversity Information Facility are hosting Biodiversity_Next. Biodiversity_Next is a joint conference by The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), a new pan-European Research Infrastructure initiative (DiSSCo),  the national resource for digitized information about vouchered natural history collections (iDigBio), Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF), and Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) and LifeWatch ERIC, the e-Science and Technology European Infrastructure for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research.