EU cooperation projects reduce fragmentation in biodiversity research


based on an interview with Klaus Riede, Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK), Germany

Klaus Riede participated as speaker/participant in the ALCUE NET Workshop on Biodiversity in Santa Marta (Colombia).  For him, the participation in the workshop was interesting and worthwhile, because he could intensify valuable contacts. Especially interesting was for him a presentation on the World Meteorology Organisation (WMO) and their monitoring system. For Mr. Riede it was the first time to get in touch with this scientific community and he found the connection between biodiversity researchers and the Meteorology Organisation very enlightening. For him the workshop has shown that meteorological stations, following the example of the WMO, could be used as good models for the monitoring in the biodiversity sector.

The second important outcome of the workshop was that all invited experts formulated a call for the ERA NET project which was then actually published. As Mr. Riede put it: “We were in the fantastic situation to be asked to formulate our own wishes.”

Generally speaking, Mr. Riede finds biodiversity a very fragmented research field, but he also sees that the EU has contributed to enhance cooperation. In his view there exists a lot of potential for  complementarities of resources and knowledge in biodiversity between EU and CELAC (e.g. Latin America has numerous, but endangered, National Parks and biological stations whereas Europe has good expertise in networking and many motivated young biologists who would be happy to get involved).

What concerns the long term impact of ALCUE NET, Mr. Riede wishes for successful new projects and networks, as well as that ALCUE NET assumes the task of building horizontal bridges between them.  More presence of ALCUE NET in international research policy and big events would describe another success factor of the project (e.g. ALCUE NET was already represented at the Climate Summit in Lima). ALCUE NET could, for instance, get involved in the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity.