International networks


The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international organization that focuses on making (civil) scientific data on species occurrence available online. Various scientific institutions from all over the world (including RBINS) make this kind of basic data on biodiversity available. GBIF makes this possible by offering a customized IT infrastructure and then making the compiled data accessible via a single, unrestricted, free-of-charge website for everyone. In this way GBIF is making a contribution to sustainable development worldwide. The Belgian Biodiversity Platform, with representation at RBINS and other institutions, is the Belgian focal point for GBIF.

Contact person: Stijn Cooleman

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The Global Registry of Scientific Collections (GRSciColl) is increasingly becoming highly suitable for decentralising access to information about natural history collections, their host institutions and curatorial contacts. GRSciColl therefore facilitates improving the visibility of natural history collections, for example at the RBINS and RCMA. Within this GBIF Registry, published data on their zoological or botanical specimens are aggregated based on collection codes according to CETAF guidelines. To higher taxon groups (such as Insects, Molluscs or Fishes), their GRSciColl collections systematically categorise specimen-related records from one or multiple GBIF datasets. This interoperable classification system of biodiversity data not only supports comprehensive searches by taxonomists, our major stakeholders, but it also provides an accessible web portal for nature enthusiasts.

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CETAF stands for Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities and is a group of 35 members representing 61 scientific institutions from 21 European countries. Their common goal is to promote the study, research and understanding of biological and palaeobiological systematics (the methodology for ranking and classifying specimens based on characteristics). Its member institutions include Natural History Museums, Natural Sciences Museums, Botanical Gardens and other research institutions, with their associated collections and research expertise. For Belgium, the RBINS, the Botanic Garden Meise and the Royal Museum for Central Africa are members of CETAF. Two RBINS' initiatives - European Journal of Taxonomy (EJT) and The Distributed European School of Taxonomy (DEST) - are now under the CETAF umbrella. The CETAF has its seat and General Secretariat at the RBINS.

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EuroGeoSurveys is a European non-profit organization uniting 33 geological services in a large pan-European knowledge centre for geosciences. The goal is to make the knowledge available to the European institutions so as to reach agreement on issues such as the certainty of supply of raw material, the creation of healthy living conditions and and the improvement of living conditions.

EuroGeoSurveys work in the following areas, inter alia:

    • certainty of supply of mineral raw material
    • detection of movements of the Earth
    • sustainable urban development
    • energy technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
    • harmonizing geoscientific data making this ready for processing on a European scale
    • The Belgian Geological Service is a member of EurGeoSurveys 

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    ECSA (European Citizen Science Association) is the European organisation for citizen science, scientific research done wholly or partly by amateur or non professional scientists. This young network was set up in 2014 and consists of museums and universities from 10 EU-member states. ECSA wishes to improve citizen science and promote it in Europe. The actions are oriented towards sustainable development and aim to draw in disadvantaged communities. The organization has its seat in the Museum für Naturkunde in Leibniz (Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Research (MfN)).

    Contact person: Carole Paleco

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    The RBINS is one of the founding members of Ecsite, the European network of science centres and museums. This organization brings together over 400 science centres, natural history museums, science festivals, universities, zoos, etc. in 50 countries that make use of the facilities of the organization to share knowledge, organize conferences and set up training programmes. The RBINS has co-produced several exhibitions together with other Ecsite members, and has participated in numerous European projects from FP6 and FP7 precursor programmes of today's H2020 "Science with and for Society". The annual Ecsite conference, attended by 1000 participants, represents an opportunity for the staff of the RBINS to exchange ideas on best practices in science communication.

    Contact person: Carole Paleco

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    ICOM is the International Council of Museums and brings together more than 32,000 museums worldwide. In this unique network museum professionals and museological institutions can discuss current and future challenges. These discussions take place within 117 national committees and 31 theme-oriented international committees. As an international professional organization ICOM determines the norms and standards of excellence. The council realizes this through (1) a code of behavior which determines the minimal norms for professional practices and performances for museums and their personnel and (2) guidelines (among which ‘Core concepts in Museology’, ‘International Guidelines for Museum Object Information’ and ‘Guidelines for Disaster Preparedness in Museums’). ICOM also combats illegal trade in cultural goods and teaches museums to avoid destruction of their collection by natural causes or by humans.

    The Museum of Natural Science is a member of ICOM Belgium/ Wallonia-Brussels and ICOM Flanders.


    Visit our website ICOM

     Visit the ICOM Flanders website

    Visit the ICOM Belgium/Wallonia-Brussels website


    The European Global Ocean Observing System (EuroGOOS) is an international non-profit organization that was founded in 1994, bringing together national government agencies and research institutions working within policy and research relating to the lakes and oceans and research of the policy that should protect them.

    EuroGOOS has 5 missions:

    • to determine the priorities of operational oceanography in Europe and strengthen the ties between the EuroGOOS members and the core initiatives on the European level, consisting of Copernicus, EMODnet and the research infrastructure for marine sciences;
    • to promote European operational oceanography through publications, conferences, a website, social media and engagement towards a growing group of organisations like the regional alliances of GOOS, GEO, European Marine Board or JPI-Ocean;
    • to support cooperation. Thanks to close contacts with key organisations on a global, European and regional level, EuroGOOS promotes the cooperation between the actors in operational oceanography, marine research and innovative technology;
    • to stimulate the common production of knowledge. Whenever possible, EuroGOOS promotes making available methods and analyses of observation and prediction. As such, it aims to offer payable oceanographic services that meet the consumers’ desires and demands;
    • coordinate marine observational stations. EuroGOOS plays a coordinating role in the European Ocean Observation System (EOOS) and facilitates the European Marian Board, the EU Copernicus Marine Service, EMODNET, the EU Marine Research Infrastructures, JPI Oceans, EEA, ESA, EUMETSAT and the group of climatological scientists.

    To realize these 5 objectives EuroGOOS relys on its 5 regional systems: Arctic ROOSBOOSNOOSIBI-ROOS and MONGOOS.

    The Directorate Natural Environment is an active member of EuroGOOS and NOOS. The Institute has hosted the EuroGOOS secretariat since 2018.

    Contact person: Sébastien Legrand

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    The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a global organization dedicated to the conservation of nature and the sustainable use of natural resources. It is the world's largest and most diverse environmental network, comprising both government and non-governmental organizations, as well as individual experts and scientists.

    The IUCN's mission is to help the world address pressing environmental challenges by providing knowledge, expertise, and leadership on conservation and sustainable development. It plays a significant role in assessing the conservation status of species and ecosystems through its Red List of Threatened Species, and it also establishes guidelines and standards for conservation practices.

    For Belgium, the Belgian Biodiversity Platform represented at RBINS acts as IUCN Focal Point, and performs several strategic functions in the work of the Union. They  work on strengthening conservation-related actions in Belgium and we promote success stories of Belgian IUCN members. We are also active in engaging Belgian experts in IUCN Commissions.

    Contact person: Divija Jata

    Website Belgian focal point

    Website IUCN