DIVERSITAS recognizes that the organisation of scientific bodies varies widely from country to country, as do the ways in which they interact with policy makers and other stakeholders. For this reason, we encourage each National Committee to develop a structure that best enables its community to implement the DIVERSITAS science plan—adapting and modifying it as appropriate—within its own national framework. The following guidelines are designed to help interested parties create an effective link between biodiversity scientists in their home country and peers from around the world.
To fulfill their broad mandate of linking national and international biodiversity initiatives through the DIVERSITAS network, National Committees should endeavour to:
Committee structure and governance
To ensure that each National Committee can support both the scientific and policy elements of the global network DIVERSITAS aims to develop, it is important to ensure that the Committee comprises an appropriate balance of active scientists, policy makers and managers of national biodiversity programmes. In addition, DIVERSITAS encourages active participation of young scientists.
Because DIVERSITAS National Committees vary widely, no effort has been made to define a single governance model. However, DIVERSITAS does encourage the establishment of a broadly representative group that meets on a regular basis (minimum once per year). Each National Committee should keep the DIVERSITAS Secretariat informed of its activities at the national and international levels.
Linking with other international programmes
At the international level, DIVERSITAS is keenly attuned to the need to establish strong ties with other global change programmes and other bodies that promote biodiversity science. This is an important means of ensuring that efforts are complementary rather than overlapping, and that resources are applied in the most effective manner possible. National Committees should seek to do the same by interacting regularly with National Committees representing other global/regional networks, such as the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), and the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE).
One way in which this can be achieved is to include representatives from other programmes on the National Committee for DIVERSITAS and vice versa.
Financial support from National Committee is critical to establishing a solid base of core funding for DIVERSITAS initiatives and activities. A scale of national contributions, based on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), has been established and can be obtained from the Secretariat.
In many instances, identifying a National Contact Point is the critical first step in creating a National Committee. Usually an active scientist or the manager of a national biodiversity programme, this individual voluntarily undertakes activities to raise awareness of DIVERSITAS within the national science community and to inform the Secretariat of national/regional initiatives that complement the DIVERSITAS science plan.
For more information on how to establish a DIVERSITAS National Committee, please contact Dr. Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard, Deputy Director.