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An International network for biodiversity science

One of DIVERSITAS’ primary objectives is to create a worldwide network in support of biodiversity science that fosters integration across disciplines and establishes links at regional and international levels. Two types of bodies play important roles in the achievement of this objective:

National Committees

National Committees enlarge DIVERSITAS’ scientific and policy networks, thereby helping to establish crucial links between national biodiversity programs and international framework activities. They also make it possible to implement, adapting where necessary, the DIVERSITAS science plan to local and regional concerns. To this end, each National Committee is encouraged to include representatives from three key groups: active scientists, policy makers and managers of national biodiversity programmes.

At present, approximately 30 countries around the globe either have, or are in the process of establishing, DIVERSITAS National Committees. These Committees form an important part of the DIVERSITAS funding strategy through voluntary annual contributions, based on a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) scale.

National Committees/Contact Points


DIVERSITAS encourages its National Committees to undertake various activities. These can be designed to implement DIVERSITAS Core Projects and Cross-cutting Networks or to prompt DIVERSITAS to branch out into new areas:

  • Create targeted national programmes of biodiversity science;
  • Launch international initiatives, such as symposia or workshops related to DIVERSITAS projects;
  • Participate in the implementation of DIVERSITAS’ projects by leading or hosting international symposia or workshops;
  • Collaborate with neighbouring countries on regional aspects of international initiatives; and
  • Support the process of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) by ensuring that the information channel is both ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’. This includes providing support to national delegates to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) meetings and the Conference of the Parties (COP).

At the local level, a National Committee may help coordinate and prioritise the activities of many smaller groups that previously worked in isolation. In turn, this may improve the chances of obtaining funding for specific projects. On the global scale, DIVERSITAS helps raise awareness and facilitate partnership and collaborations with other countries, thereby bringing national activities into the international arena.

DIVERSITAS also encourages ties between its own National Committees and those representing other global environmental change programmes including the member organisations of the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP), specifically the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP); the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), as well as relevant international organisations such as the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE).

Establishing a National Contact Point is an important step in the process of developing DIVERSITAS National Committees. In this voluntary capacity, an individual scientist, policy maker or national biodiversity programme representative agrees to act as the DIVERSITAS spokesperson within his or her home country, until a full-fledged Committee becomes established. In addition to raising general awareness of the programme, the Contact Point should seek to identify how current initiatives within the country correspond to DIVERSITAS Core Projects and Cross-cutting Networks or to bring innovative approaches and activities to the attention of the Programme.

Regional Networks

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Many issues related to biodiversity transcend national boundaries. Therefore, it is often vitally important for several countries to collaborate in scientific research and in policy development. The knowledge and experience gained through such integrative approaches is invaluable across the DIVERSITAS network. DIVERSITAS collaborates with the following Regional Networks:

  • Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN)
    The APN is an inter-governmental network whose primary purposes are to foster global environmental change research in the Asia-Pacific region, increase developing country participation in that research, and to strengthen links between the science community and policy makers. It promotes, encourages and supports research activities on long-term global changes in climate, ocean and terrestrial systems, and on related physical, chemical, biological and socio-economic processes.

  • DIVERSITAS in Western Pacific in Asia (DIWPA)
    DIWPA is an international network for promoting cooperative studies and information exchange on biodiversity, in the region of Western Pacific and Asia, under a close cooperation with its mother program, DIVERSITAS.

    To date DIWPA has received supporting letters from 16 countries and regions: Australia, China, Finland, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and the USA.

  • Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI)
    The IAI is an intergovernmental organization, supported by 19 countries in the Americas, dedicated to pursuing the principles of scientific excellence, international cooperation, and the open exchange of scientific information to increase the understanding of global change phenomena and their socio-economic implications. The missions of IAI are to develop the capacity of understanding the integrated impact of present and future global change on regional and continental environments in the Americas and to promote collaborative research and informed action at all levels.

  • SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training (START)
    START is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that seeks to establish and foster regional networks of collaborating scientists and institutions in developing countries. These networks conduct research on regional aspects of environmental change, assess impacts and vulnerabilities to such changes, and provide information to policy-makers. Networks are established in the following regions; Temperate East Asia, Pan-Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Oceania, Mediterranean, Central Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Getting involved

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To find out how to get involved in an existing National Committee or Regional Network, simply follow the link above.

If you would like to receive more information on developing a DIVERSITAS connection within your country, please contact the DIVERSITAS secretariat (


Last updated : 14 September 2006

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