| Jorge Soberon, Executive Secretary of CONABIO, hosted a workshop in Mexico City, September 28-29, 2001, that brought together 31 participants from many of the world's megadiversity countries and international biological informatics initiatives for the purpose of exploring the merits of the All Species Foundation's goal of facilitating the completion of the inventory of life on Earth within the next generation (25 years). Countries represented at the table were Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Peru, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The workshop was co-sponsored by CONABIO, the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science of Conservation International, and the All Species Foundation.
According to Dr. Soberon, in a background statement about the workshop, "... the meeting is to discuss the project from the perspective of its eventual "ownership" by those [developing] institutions and countries, highlighting the potential benefits from the scientific, economic, educational and conservation viewpoints. In particular we expect to discuss, among other things, the following issues:
- Relations and synergies between ALL and existing entities and processes like the CBD's Global Taxonomy Initiative, Bionet, Sabonet, the Latin American Network for Botany, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, and others.
- Role of ALL in technology transfer, training, capacity building and institutional strengthening in the developing world.
- Design of an ALL project that will ensure spin-offs in the form of national awareness and involvement, promotion, of the CBD objectives, technology developments, etc.
- The barriers for the project (political, institutional, scientific) will be discussed, specifically requesting alternatives and ways of overcoming them.
In particular we will be discussing:
- Issues of intellectual property rights and biopiracy. Legal regimes, policies and likely societal responses to a project like ALL.
- Issues of lack of institutional and individual capacity to become full partners in the ALL project.
- Ways of broadcasting the meaning and objectives of ALL in the respective countries of the attendants to the meeting."
The workshop concluded with a very positive mandate for the All Species Foundation to move forward with its plans. There was a call for a statement of the principles by which the Foundation would develop its programs, and in response to that a document on Principles was posted on the Foundation's website. A complete report on the Megadiversity Countries Workshop is in preparation by Jorge Soberon and will be posted on this site when available.