Better information on the status, trends and drivers of biodiversity change is needed to assist governments in developing more effective and timely policy responses. There are many excellent tools, protocols and software in use that facilitate effective biodiversity monitoring but these are not easily discoverable or available to all regions of the planet. As well, current efforts to monitor biodiversity are not interoperable, thereby limiting our ability to detect change and the underlying mechanisms driving change in biodiversity.

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BON in a Box aims to serve as a technology transfer mechanism that allows countries access to the most advanced and effective monitoring protocols, tools and software thereby, lowering the threshold for a country to set up, enhance or harmonize a national biodiversity observing system.

main1BON in a Box is a regionally customizable and continually updated online toolkit for facilitating the start-up or enhancement of national or regional biodiversity observation systems.

BON in a Box will give nations, regions and others a common and scientifically sound set of biodiversity variables, monitoring methods and guidelines, mapping software, and data management, analysis, discovery and reporting tools and platforms, thereby increasing the power at not only a national but also a regional and global scale to detect important biodiversity trends and their underlying mechanisms.

The development of BON in a Box is being led by GEO BON and represents a partnership of the world’s major international biodiversity organizations. These tools will lower the threshold for a country or region to get started on developing or enhancing an existing Biodiversity Observation Network.

Current Status

Development of BON in a Box will happen at two scales:

1) Regional Pilot – Neotropics;

2) Global rollout via further regional capacity building engagement (e.g. West, East, South Africa, South and Southeast Asia).

Global implementation will be aligned as much as possible with related capacity building efforts underway for supporting biodiversity observations (e.g. Convention on Biological Diversity and Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) and BON in a Box is being designed to support both the CBD and IPBES.

humboldtgThe regional pilot – BON in a Box: Neotropics is well underway with the Humboldt Institute of Colombia leading its development. A survey has been developed and sent out to over 1000 recipients in central and South America to better identify the greatest capacity building needs around supporting biodiversity observations and related decision-making. The results of this survey will be analyzed in early February and beginning development of the BON in a Box prototype will begin based on these results. Regional and other representatives will be invited to a workshop in Colombia in April 2015 to review the prototype, confirm national and regional needs, identify key aspects and tools for inclusion in BON in a Box and discuss opportunities for regional cooperation for biodiversity observations.

The assembly and development of tools will be directly supported by the work of GEO BON’s 9 Working Groups as well as through existing (E.g. GBIF, Earthwatch Institute, etc.) and new partnerships with key organizations in the business of supporting biodiversity observations.