Conservation Commons

Donat Agosti agosti at AMNH.ORG
Tue Nov 23 16:27:42 CST 2004

Here a press release of the launch of the Conservation Commons at the
3rd World Conservation Congress in Bangkok last Friday. The CC is a
major initiative to make conservation related data, information and
knowledge open and freely accessible for conservation related work (see

So far, more than 40 partners have signed up, including among others
NASA, GBIF, Conservation International, Natureserve, Shell,
ChevronTexaco (a list is given at the above web site)

Since I am involved in the steering committee, I might be a bit biased,
but I think, this is one of the most important initiatives to get access
to much demanded conservation related data launched during the last
years. Only NASA's commitment alone to provide an increasing access to
all the remote sensing data is an invaluable input in better
understanding our environment (e.g. a freely accessible world wide
coverage of Landsat images for 1990 and 2000). For example, if we can
combine these resources with our own (shared specimen data), and new
distribution models, then we can get a never before insight into the
distribution and ecology of species. Obviously, systematics is in this
respect a part of conservation...


Embargoed until 19:00 Bangkok time, 12:00 Noon hours GMT, 7:00 AM New
York Time

Conservation Groups Commit to Bridging the Information Divide
Conservation Commons Promises to Herald in New Era for Sharing
Conservation Information 

Bangkok, Thailand, 19 November 2004 (IUCN) –  A unique coalition of
organizations from around the world are committing to sharing data,
information, and knowledge in new ways intended to improve the
effectiveness of conservation. 

The creation of a “Conservation Commons” was announced at the IUCN 3rd
World Conservation Congress, currently taking place in Bangkok. Birdlife
International, Conabio (Mexico), The South Africa National Biodiversity
Institute, Conservation International, UN Development Program, The
Natural History Museum (London), The Brazilian Center for Environmental
Information (CRIA), NASA, Chevron-Texaco and many others have come
together to endorse common principles calling for free and open access
to conservation information. 

Data and information required for effective conservation is fragmented
and difficult to find. The initiative seeks to break down barriers to
access, to more effectively connect users of conservation data to the
information they need and to adopt new standards for integrating
knowledge and experience.  “Achieving success in conserving the world’s
biodiversity for future generations depends on coordinated action to
mobilize and integrate biodiversity data to address the practical needs
of different stakeholders and decision-makers,” said Christoph Häuser,
Chair of the Executive Committee, Global Biodiversity Information
Facility (GBIF).

Conservation Commons: an “open source” for nature
A common approach to sharing data and best practices will make it
possible to quickly and easily find conservation information inform key
policy development and learn more effectively from past successes and

“Addressing threats to biodiversity requires best available information
for effective conservation action on the ground.”  stated Tom Moritz,
Director of Libraries for the American Museum of Natural History and a
key participant in establishing the Conservation Commons, “Vast stores
of existing information and data are not accessible to conservationists
and decision makers.  Leveraging existing information assets and
creating new ones will produce huge benefits for future conservation.”

Mike Andrews, Chief Operating Officer for The Nature Conservancy asserts
“The Commons represents an exciting opportunity to capitalize on
synergies and apply the best scientific knowledge and practice.” 

Jeff McNeely, Chief Scientist at IUCN says:    “The Conservation Commons
is the single most important initiative in conservation today.”

More information about The Conservation Commons can be found at .

Notes to Editors

For more information contact:

Provide your full contact details as follows:

Xenya Cherny, IUCN Media Relations Officer; Tel: +41 22 999 0127;
Mobile: + 41 (0)79 729 0924, Fax: +41 22 999 0020; Email: xec at;

Dr. Donat Agosti
Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian
Email: agosti at
Dalmaziquai 45
3005 Bern
+41-31-351 7152

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