BIOTA AFRICA has been jointly invented by African and German researchers aiming at the establishment of research supporting sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity in Africa.
While, initially, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) was open to fund the initiative, meanwhile several African countries and partner institutions added funding.
The project, from its beginning, had a very visible continent-wide dimension and is still expanding especially with regard to its role as a "Biodiversity Observation Network" on the African continent.
The BIOTA network follows a governance model giving equal rights to all participating researchers and institutions. In practical terms, the participating institutions of each country elect representatives for a national BIOTA steering committee which controls the daily business and enables national strategic discussions and decisions.
Decisions on the future course of the overall project are jointly met at regular plenary meetings. Due to pragmatic reasons the large project is logistically subdivided into four REGIONAL NETWORKS: BIOTA West Africa, BIOTA East Africa, BIOTA Southern Africa and BIOTA Morocco ("Research Networks"). Within these regional networks, the research activities are bundled with a large number of subprojects and workpackages.
Each of the regional networks and each of the host countries have a scientific chair (speaker), a logistic coordinator and a decision-making board, called "Steering Committee".
Besides those participants who had been actively involved in the development of the application for phase I, II or III of the project and who receive funding through the network ("core participants"), a large number of additional participants ("associated participants") is involved. These include land owners (individual farmers, communities, companies, NGOs) and scientifically cooperating individuals, communities or institutions, but also stakeholders, linked to BIOTA with regard to the transformation of scientific results into practical decision-making.
BIOTA AFRICA welcomes new partners (individuals, communities and institutions) wishing to make use of BIOTAs research platforms (e.g. biodiversity-observatories) or aiming at establishing new observatories in regions and countries, hitherto not covered. BIOTA will make its resources available and seeks data exchange based on a data exchange protocol and on Memorandum of Understandings.