COP15, a Telescope and We

Developing capacity for empowerment, problem-solving and achieving community goals

Jutta Buschbom & Claus Weiland

Virtual conversation café offered at the 24th Annual Meeting of the Society for Biological Systematics GfBS, Frankfurt am Main (virtual), Germany, Mar. 28-31, 2023.

Statistical Genetics, March 28, 2023


In December 2022 the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) as well as complementary decisions for its implementation, including an extensive monitoring framework. The GBF is a significant achievement and will guide biodiversity conservation world-wide for the next 30 years.

The adoption of the GBF is testimony to the capacity of countries in very different circumstances and with divergent value systems and socio-cultural backgrounds to find consensus and achieve a joint goal. Despite strong concerns, incompatible positions and a global political context of rising conflict, parties found acceptable solutions and joint ways forward for highly contested topics, as for example resource mobilization, utilization  of digital sequence information, and gender.

In this overall context it stands out that the negotiations for the knowledge management components in support of the GBF and its monitoring were stalled by an apparently irreconcilable clash that led to the removal of knowledge management from its dedicated decision and the postponement of its adoption by another two years, i.e. until COP16.

Knowledge management with its associated ecosystem of analog and digital infrastructures, social interactions and human resources lies at the heart of scientific collections. With the development of the Digital Extended Specimen concept, the global collection, biodiversity sciences and informatics communities have laid the foundation for a global infrastructure of open, FAIR and CARE biodiversity data and their integration into emerging wider global data spaces. Realized, such a vast and complex infrastructure certainly would be the James Webb telescope of planetary biodiversity monitoring.

In the proposed session, we would like to explore ways for talking about “the things that don’t work that well”. Small as they might seem, eventually they might have contributed to and eventually led to the removal of knowledge management from the GBF and thereby limited societal will, political support and hindered progress. We propose a conservation café setting for sharing experiences, observations, and ideas for potential solutions.

This United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) definition for Capacity Building can provide inspiration for finding a joint way for the now and towards the future.


Jutta Buschbom, Statistical Genetics, Ahrensburg, Germany

Claus Weiland, Science IT, Senckenberg – Leibniz Institution for Biodiversity and Earth System Research, Frankfurt/Main, Germany