Asia is among the most biologically rich and also the highly populated area of the planet earth. Consequently, Asian countries are experiencing severe threats to their biodiversity rich areas and the ecosystems. This is accentuated by the fact that in Asia millions of people derive their livelihood from the wild and that there is an emerging conflict between development and conservation. Thus developing sustainable strategies, that effectively address both, the conservation of bio-rich areas and the livelihood needs of the people, is perhaps more important in Asian countries than elsewhere. Developing such sustainable strategies of conservation and management requires a strong knowledge base on the distribution of biodiversity and, forms and intensities of threats faced by the bio-rich areas.
However, biodiversity information available in Asia is still limited and scattered. While there are certain independent efforts that hold very rich information, there are no mechanisms to harness them for mega-scale, inter-country planning of conservation strategies. In other words, there is a strong need for linking the several existing database systems/platforms and research activities in Asian countries. Such integration would add value to the existing biological information services and help in addressing a) the biodiversity challenges faced by the countries, and b) support the implementation of global conventions and commitments, such as Strategic Plan for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) associated activities.
In this context, Biodiversity Committee, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, facilitated a Workshop on Biodiversity Data Sharing Environment in Asia at Zhaoqing, Guangdong province, China. The workshop was held from March 7th-8th, 2013 at Bohailou, Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province, China and it was attended by the representatives from Chinese Academy of Science, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, IUCN Asia office, Man and Biosphere Asia Web, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Indonesian Institute of Sciences. Participants discussed on the future plans for a possible network of biodiversity information sharing among the Asian countries. All the participants agreed that there was indeed a strong need to develop a network of networks namely Asia Biodiversity Conservation and Database Network (ABCDNet).