What we do

SABIF mobilises primary biodiversity information to make it freely available on the internet so that policy makers, managers and researchers can make well-informed decisions that contribute to South Africa’s sustainable development.

This is done through:

1. Promoting the sharing of data and information under a common set of standards by

  • Developing and maintaining meta-databases
  • Establishing and maintaining a web portal
  • Providing funding for data digitisation
  • Providing funding for data provider interface
  • Facilitating the development of application tools for data use
  • Encouraging networking and co-ordination of activities

2. Contributing to education, training and capacity development for promoting national access to data.

3. Facilitating marketing and awareness-raising of the benefits and applications for end users.

4. Advising on national and international initiatives

Where we work

SABIF works across South Africa with a network of partners to digitise species and specimen records and make them accessible on the SABIF and GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility) websites.

SABIF is part of the GBIF Africa region where collaboration across the continent contributes to sharing resources, capacity and knowledge.

South Africa is a voting member of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, a global network of countries and organisations, which promotes and facilitates the mobilisation, access, discovery and use of information about the occurrence of organisms over time and across the planet.

Reason for our programme

South Africa is the third most biodiverse country in the world. The country grapples with issues of poverty and development. Biodiversity supports services that people depend on for survival. Science is responding to the need to understand, predict and prevent loss of biodiversity through gathering information so that we are best equipped to make good decisions.

The National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act of 2004 mandates SANBI to “collect, generate, process, co-ordinate and disseminate information about biodiversity and the sustainable use of indigenous biological resources, and establish and maintain databases in this regard”.

The SABIF programme contributes to this mandate through mobilising species and specimen data and developing institutional and individual capacity to facilitate mobilisation and access.

What we have achieved

Some of the achievements of the programme include:

  • Mobilising more than 12 million records through partnerships and digitisation grants
  • Developing a policy framework to support data sharing and protect intellectual property
  • Improving data quality through providing training in data cleaning and standards
  • Increasing data use through training and marketing to potential end users
  • Growing a network of people involved in biodiversity information management
  • Contributing to an Africa-wide collaboration to share lessons, skills and resources
  • Ensuring South Africa is represented in the global biodiversity information management arena

Who we are

SABIF is funded by the National Department of Science and Technology and the secretariat is housed in SANBI’s Biodiversity Information Management Directorate.

The Steering Committee, with representatives from national government, universities and museums, provides overall guidance to the programme.

SABIF Node Manager: Ms Fatima Parker-Allie

SABIF steering committee: Chairperson: Mr. Leluma Matooane

Data publishers

Agricultural Research Council
Albany Museum
Animal Demography Unit – University of Cape Town
Bolus Herbarium
CSIR (thematic node)
Durban Natural Science Museum
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Garden Route Botanical Garden Trust
IZIKO Museum
Natal Museum
North West University
Rhodes University
South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity
South African National Biodiversity Institute
Transvaal Museum
University of Cape Town
University of KwaZulu-Natal
University of Pretoria.

Ms Fatima Parker-Allie
Tel: +27 21 799 8698
Email: sabif@sanbi.org.za
Website: www.sabif.ac.za

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