Welcome to the October 2023 edition of our ALA newsletter.
It’s been an exciting month for the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), CSIRO and our national partners as we welcomed the world’s biodiversity data community to Hobart and Canberra for a series of conferences, meetings and symposia. Our journey began by hosting this year’s annual meeting of the biodiversity data standards group TDWG in Hobart from October 9th to 13th. The event welcomed 166 participants from 26 countries (with 143 joining virtually) to present, learn and connect. We are grateful to those who continue the work of TDWG and biodiversity data standards. The TDWG-maintained Darwin Core standard has underpinned so many of the world’s biodiversity data systems, including the ALA, and ensures interoperable biodiversity data can move freely across platforms and borders. Events such as the TDWG annual meeting are fundamental in supporting the evolution of the standard and learning about the biodiversity science and applications it enables.

TDWG was a timely precursor to our next series of events hosted in Canberra and framed around the two-day Governing Board meeting of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Australia last hosted the fourth Governing Board meeting (GB04) in 2002 at the National Academy of Sciences and then welcomed 18 countries to Canberra. 21 years later, we hosted 45 people from 30 countries at the National Portrait Gallery and CSIRO (with a further 28 participants joining online from 12 countries) to govern, support and grow the GBIF network. We were pleased to be joined by the Honourable Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek at the gala dinner hosted at the National Museum of Australia. The Minister’s address affirmed the importance of data in supporting national and international biodiversity policy priorities and the ALA looks forward to working with our international and national partners to support these.

Hosting this series of international meetings highlights the leadership role that Australia plays, and the ALA is grateful to the individuals and teams that have put such a strong foundation in place over more than a decade. These partnerships also highlight the importance of international collaboration in improving the national biodiversity data landscape, and ultimately our ability to understand, conserve and enhance the world’s biodiversity. I’m grateful to our team and our fellow CSIRO colleagues who played such an important role in hosting and welcoming our international guests to Australia.
group of 11 people standing in front of a TDWG banner in a conference room
The ALA’s delegation at the TDWG conference in Hobart.
Large group of people in front of the National Portrait Gallery
Global Biodiversity Information Facility Governing Board international delegation at the National Portrait Gallery.
Hon Tanya Plibersek giving her speech
Minister for the Environment and Water Hon Tanya Plibersek, giving her speech at the GBIF gala dinner.