On 26-28 February 2018, Minsk hosted the Regional Round Table event dedicated to the Bio-Bridge Initiative of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asian Republics. The meeting was organized in Belarus by the Secretariat initiative and the National Coordination Centre on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing, the Institute of Genetics and Cytology, NAS of Belarus, provided organizational support.
Representatives of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the Research Center for Biodiversity (Montpellier, France) and the Center for Support of Indigenous Peoples of the North (Russia) took part in the Round Table event.
The aim of the Regional Round Table was to familiarize the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asian Republics with the Bio-Bridge Initiative concept as a tool for scientific and technical collaboration at regional and global levels and a web-platform developed for this purpose. The thematic areas of possible collaboration in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, biological safety and access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing acquired by providers and users of those resources were identified and the criteria for selecting of projects and searching for funding sources were set.
The Secretariat organized a number of Skype conferences with the specialists of global programs and initiatives on related issues such as TAPAS GROUP, Green Climate Fund, Satoyama Initiative, BES-Net, ENI SEIS II East, CTCN, and etc. During the Skype conferences, managers provided participants with information on their activities and discussed possible collaboration areas of such programs and initiatives.
The countriesꞌ representatives shared their experience in the implementation of international collaboration projects and the results obtained from the standpoint of their further development to bring concrete practical benefits for all the participants.
The National Coordination Centre on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing in Belarus reported on the successful collaboration experience with the Bio-Bridge Initiative in preparing a project proposal for an International DNA-barcoding training, including the collaboration of the Bio-Bridge Initiative and the Global Taxonomy Initiative of the Secretariat to provide financial support for this project.
Any program and initiative effectiveness is determined by the country’s activity in the international scientific and business collaboration and, therefore, the participants were asked to identify priority areas for their countries related to consistent capacity strengthening aimed to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and achieve the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Based on the delivered presentations, five main thematic areas were identified for the Bio-Bridge Initiative to concentrate its activities. Countries were invited to submit regional project proposals related to those areas that will allow the Region countries to combine their technical capabilities and creative potential of scientists and specialists to achieve their goals.