The Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has recognised the currently existing taxonomic impediment to ensure the conservation and management of the world's biodiversity. In response, COP has formulated the concept of a Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI) to promote a concerted effort among international funding agencies, national and sub-national governments, and non-governmental bodies. The GTI Africa Regional Workshop was held at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Claremont, Cape Town, South Africa, from 27 February to 1 March 2001. The Workshop was attended by a total of 43 delegates, representing 32 countries (23 African) and 36 institutions or organisations. The Kirstenbosch Declaration was compiled during the Workshop and summarises the major decisions and proposals made by the delegates at the Workshop. A Final Report summarising the discussions and decisions from the GTI Africa Regional Workshop is being prepared and will be distributed to all interested parties. A taxonomic needs assessment for Africa has been conducted as part of this project. The results from this first ever comprehensive taxonomic needs assessment covering plants, animals and micro-organisms for the African continent as a unit, are reported on here and forms an important part of the Final Report. The needs assessment highlights the prominent taxonomic impediment currently existing in the continent. Taxonomic capacity building is urgently needed in Africa; therefore, African taxonomic institutions can benefit immensely from the Global Taxonomy Initiative.
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