As UN Environments specialist centre for biodiversity information and assessment, UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre is responsible for:
a) Creating the collaborative relationships needed to acquire and develop biodiversity data(1).
b) Ensuring high standards of maintenance, validation, dissemination and review/purging of biodiversity data holdings in its custody.
c) Establishing rights of ownership and use of each dataset and putting in place the necessary permissions and appropriate conditions for the use of these datasets by third parties.
d) Producing data management plans that are realistic, incorporating adequate IT investment.
e) Promoting the use of biodiversity data holdings by devising and promulgating catalogues and directories and encouraging the development of data standards.
f) Exchanging data where the result will lead to a contribution to knowledge within UN Environments remit, or to benefits in kind.
g) Arranging licences to control the release of datasets, the uses to which the datasets may be put, and their further dissemination; and to protect UN Environment and data providers from legal liability.
h) Monitoring the uses being made of the data and data products.
i) Representing UN Environment on matters concerning biodiversity data.
j) Securing the funding necessary to facilitate the above.
This policy provides guidance to UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre in fulfilling these responsibilities.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will participate in and promote efforts to harmonize data standards and share policies across the biodiversity sector.
The collaborative arrangements that UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre makes with national, regional and international data providers and partners in the development of new biodiversity datasets will always seek to be transparent, fair and equitable.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre shall not assert any intellectual property rights in the data made available to it by data providers. Wherever possible UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will record the ‘ownership’ and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) associated with each of the biodiversity data sets it holds or draws upon and will ensure the necessary permissions are in place for its use. Where ownership and IPR are unclear, UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will make fair and equitable arrangements with key stakeholders to facilitate its deployment to the benefit of conservation.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will take stringent measures to ensure that contributors of data shall be correctly attributed and the integrity of their contribution preserved. Data providers will normally include stable and unique identifiers in the data they provide so that the owner of the data is known and for other necessary purposes.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will respect and will not without permission share traditional knowledge and data regarding the land rights of indigenous peoples unless such data, information and knowledge is provided with prior, informed consent and/or is already in the public domain.
Data providers will warrant that they have made the necessary arrangements with the original owners of the data that it makes available through UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre and shall make reasonable efforts to ensure the data they provide are accurate.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will draw up and implement a comprehensive biodiversity data management plan that includes adequate and continuing precautions to safeguard and back-up materials in its custody.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will take stringent measures to ensure all its data holdings are adequately documented, include appropriate metadata and are subject to quality control procedures.
Making biodiversity data available should help safeguard biodiversity; access to data will be restricted where the release of sensitive data might have the opposite effect. All data restricted as being sensitive will include a date for review of their sensitivity status, along with documented reasons for that status.
Responsibility regarding the restriction of access to sensitive areas resides with the data provider. Where data providers have specified restrictions on the use of particular data or datasets, this will be clearly recorded in the metadata, and this information used in ensuring that the restrictions are effectively implemented when making data available to third parties.
To improve access to its data holdings UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will make all the biodiversity data it is able to release according to this policy available to view and download on-line, together with such terms and conditions of use as may apply. UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will also make data available as an OGC compliant and ArcGIS Server web service if technical capacity allows.
It is self-evident that datasets can only be fully exploited if potential users are aware of their existence and UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will prepare and publish a catalogue of its data holdings every year, advertise its data holdings, and include metadata in appropriate metadata catalogues.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will prepare metrics for the quality and completeness of the data it holds as well as the use made of it and will produce regular reports based on these.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre's business model will support the development, acquisition, maintenance and release of the biodiversity data it holds. It will also investigate the development of methodologies such as expert ‘wiki’ systems that allow data to be contributed and managed on-line to decrease the development, maintenance and distribution costs of biodiversity datasets.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will operate a ‘take-down’ policy such that in the event of any reasonable claim of a potential breach of copyright, or other reasonable notice of a possible violation of rights or rules, especially from data partners and providers, regarding the content of an online service the contested item will be removed from the service as quickly as possible pending further investigation.
In compliance with UN Environment policy, and where doing so will not violate restrictions imposed by data providers, UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will permit use of its biodiversity data for a non-commercial purpose(2) in a timely manner with a minimum of restrictions.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre recognises and appreciates the in-kind contributions made to biodiversity data holdings by developing countries and will prioritise the repatriation of biodiversity data. UNEP-WCMC will subsidize the costs of preparation and delivery of data repatriated or otherwise supplied to developing country users unless the purpose is commercial.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will make biodiversity data freely available for non-commercial purposes, but charges may be raised to users in ‘developed’ countries in order to recover costs associated with preparation and delivery where these are significant.
Permission for the commercial use of biodiversity data will not be unreasonably withheld where such use may have conservation as well as commercial value and where its release will not violate restrictions imposed by data providers. Where there is no clear conservation value data will be made available under specific licence and UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre may seek a proportionate contribution to the compilation and maintenance of the underlying data services, or the establishment of a data-sharing agreement, or negotiate a royalty agreement with any revenues used to improve data quality.
Exceptionally, if UN Environment’s objectives can be furthered by partnering with commercial data visualisation companies that produce certain key technologies(3), UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre may provide access to the biodiversity data for which it has IPR on terms which differ from UN Environments normal commercial terms which may include a waiver of any financial contribution from the licensee. However, in these circumstances the commercial entity will normally be expected to provide a degree of in-kind support for data development and maintenance.
Where they have been created using public funds, value-added information services produced by UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will be made available free of charge for non-commercial purposes though additional restrictions may apply.
It is commonly the case that the data released by UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre is misinterpreted in analysis or put to inappropriate uses. UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre does not have the capacity to participate in all the uses to which its data are put, but in certain key instances we will enter into partnerships which involve the deployment, analysis and interpretation of data and allow our logo to be associated with derived products. In these cases UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre will play a quality assurance role such that the international community can have confidence in the outputs.
(1) For the purposes of this policy, biodiversity ‘data’ means data plus its associated metadata.
(2) A commercial purpose is a) any use for profit or b) any use by an individual or entity operating within or on behalf of or to the benefit of or to assist the activities of any entity other than a not-for-profit organisation.
(3) Such as Google Earth™, Microsoft® Virtual Earth™, ESRI ArcGIS™ Explorer About Us