Bonn, Germany, 17 June 2001


A significant step towards developing a comprehensive resource for scientific information on the world’s biodiversity was achieved in Bonn today with the selection of Copenhagen as the site for the secretariat of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). According to Christoph Haeuser, a leading biodiversity researcher at the State Museum in Stuttgart and the Chair of the GBIF Governing Board, “This decision puts GBIF on a firm footing. It now will have a home base from which to fulfill its goal of linking together the world’s biodiversity databases.”

The second meeting of GBIF’s Governing Board, held in Bonn from 15-17 June, considered competitive bids from Australia, Denmark, Netherlands and Spain for hosting the GBIF secretariat. Henrik Balslev, head of the national delegation that proposed the winning bid, stated that “Denmark is proud and honoured to host the GBIF secretariat. In Denmark the secretariat will function in a stimulating biodiverity research environment. We will strive to make the GBIF secretariat a truly international organization that promotes excellence in biodiversity informatics research through synergy between technologically advanced and biodiversity-rich regions of the world.”


GBIF also announced the establishment of the Ebbe Nielsen Prize. This is the world’s first award specifically designed to recognize and facilitate creative applications of informatics research to biodiversity. Named after a prominent Danish/Australian scientist who was one of the major promoters of GBIF before his untimely death in March 2001, the USD 35,000 Prize will be awarded annually to a young researcher who creatively combines biodiversity and informatics research. The Ebbe Nielsen Prize will be awarded for the first time in 2002.


GBIF is an open-ended international coordinating body devoted to gathering and computerizing biodiversity information from around the world and making those data freely available on the Internet. It was established in March 2001 and currently consists of 18 Voting and 14 Associate Participants. A full listing of the GBIF membership can be found at the GBIF web site (


The GBIF Governing Board is soliciting applications for the position of Executive Secretary to be selected at the next Governing Board meeting to be held in Paris, France from 11-15 September 2001. Information on the procedure of application will be available on the GBIF website (


For further information contact: Dr. Christoph Haeuser (GBIF Chair), State Museum of Natural History, Rosenstein 1, D-70191 Stuttgart, Fax: ++49-711-8936100, email: [email protected]