The need for policy on biodiversity data sharing and mobilizing is discussed at JU

Jimma University in collaboration with Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute and NABU organized a synthetization workshop regarding mobilization and publishing of biodiversity information available in Jimma University, NABU, EBA and other relevant organizations and individuals at Jimma Boni Hotel on February 3, 2010. Dr. Tsige Ketema, V/P for Research and Community Service opened the workshop by highlighting the importance of mobilization and publishing biodiversity data for the overall development of Ethiopia’s reach biodiversity resource. She further underlined that all stakeholders need to play critical role in mobilizing and publishing biodiversity data. She said Jimma University in this regard will take the necessary steps. 
Subsequently, introduction to the Biodiversity Information for Development and Environmental Resilience in Southern Ethiopia (BIDERSE) project has been presented by Dr. Argaw Ambelu, Principal investigator of the Project. Dr. Argaw reflected that the consultative stakeholders meeting is organized to create a platform of cooperation among different stakeholders engaged in biodiversity endeavors. He added, as key players in the economic development, universities, government and NGO’s need to collaboratively work to establish biodiversity information.  
Various questions and comments have been raised on how to collect, organize and publish biodiversity data. Finally the participants were divided in to three groups and discussed on the SWOT analysis on the availability, handling, sharing, publishing and utilization of biodiversity data base.  
It was said in discussions that absence of central or national biodiversity data repository system and lack of biodiversity data publishing made the country vulnerable from using its biodiversity resources. As the result other countries are patenting its biodiversity resources without the consent and knowledge of the nation. The participants said that increasing visibility of biodiversity data could be one solution to prevent such problems. On the other hand, it was also said that lack of transparency among professionals involved on biodiversity data is also making the country vulnerable in the protection of its biodiversity resources. 
The Workshop participants believed that the absence policy on biodiversity data sharing and mobilizing is a critical gap. Hence, a national task force chaired by Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute Dr. Melese Maryo and Jimma University as a secretariat, was established to draft a policy guide that gives directions on the sharing and mobilization of the biodiversity data in the nation.