The need for some sort of global biodiversity observation system has been raised for several years by a variety of stakeholders. Recently, GEO BON has developed an initial, top-level concept for such a system, now called GBiOS. In June 2022 a workshop at the World Biodiversity Forum in Davos, Switzerland discussed this top-level concept and led to agreement among the 40-plus participants that the basic concept was sound (cf BON-21-02). With this in mind, GEO BON’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan that is now under development has identified GBiOS as a major thrust area for what is informally being called GEO BON Phase 3. GBiOS builds upon GEO BON’s Biodiversity Observation Networks (BONs) and Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) and both are needed for a successful GBiOS.
The next step for GBiOS is to further engage with key stakeholders to add an additional level of detail, enabling the exploration of implementation approaches. Follow-on workshops to the one in Davos will be planned, though the timeline and nature of these will depend upon funding and human resources.
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity is developing their plan for the next decade and forward to 2050 called the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). The GBF includes a “Monitoring Framework”, outlining indicators that Parties can track over time. Because satellite remote sensing (SRS) is regular, periodic, and nearly global (as well as often available at no cost) it perfectly complements in situ observations which, though absolutely essential, tend to be spatially and temporally sparse and relatively expensive. Consequently, SRS will have an essential role in the GBF and to Parties, and thus in GBiOS. One variable that demonstrates this essential role is Ecosystem Extent, a key CBD indicator for GBF Goal A and one that is highly dependent on the SRS that typically provides the core observational input. However, SRS plays a very important role in other indicators as well, including species distribution and ecosystem condition and integrity, which are also called out in Goal A. Finally, CBD is not the only important stakeholder for these variables—for example, they are also central to the UN System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) for the ecosystem accounts.
A one day workshop was help at the 2022 World Biodiversity Forum in Davos, Switzerland to discuss the Global Biodiversity Observation System (GBiOS) concept, reach out to the broader community and assess and improve engagement. More than 40 people--all of which were biodiversity experts--attended. Six breakout groups each met to discuss "big picture" architectural options and partnerships needed; their results were shared so they could be compared with the other groups and further discussed.
GEO BON held a side event on GBiOS at the Convention on Biological Diversity COP-15 held in Montreal in December 2022. Its purpose was to inform COP attendees, solicit feedback, and enhance engagement and buyin by both meeting attendees as well as the CBD. GEO BON also participated in a side event hosted by UNEP-WCMC and its partners on a concept for a Global Knowldge Support Service for Biodiversity. This led to discussions about how to capitalize on the complementarity of the GBiOS and GKSSB concepts; further discussions are planned.