Governments of the world have through the Global Taxonomy Initiative asked for an increased taxonomic capacity worldwide, but especially in developing countries where human and infrastructural capacity, as well as access to taxonomic data is generally very scarce.
But how is this to be achieved? The Belgian GTI NFP is convinced that only cooperation, and especially between the North and the South cooperation, will enable:
- better human taxonomic resources in the developing world;
- better reference collections in countries of origin;
- better access to collections, their data and metadata;
- better dissemination of taxonomic data and metadata;
- better build up and maintenance of adequately equiped local centers of taxonomic expertise.
One of the flagship projects that the Belgian GTI is involved in is a so-called Partnership for Enhancing Expertise in Taxonomy (PEET) project on two commercial sea cucumber families. The project aims at undertaking an integrative taxonomic revision of the concerned taxa and train a new generation of sea cucumber taxonomists. Ultimately, the project will have delivered a stable classification wherein each taxon is unequivocally named. This will greatly enhance conservation efforts and as such will lead to the direct implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
More can be read on the main website of the PEET project on holothuroid taxonomy as well as on a thematic site on echinoderm taxonomy set up by the Belgian members in the project.