[tdwg] TDWG Executive Committee Venue Decision
Chuck.Miller at mobot.org
Wed May 16 14:47:20 CEST 2012
To TDWG Members:
The Executive Committee has been requested to comment regarding its decision to hold this year’s meeting in Beijing, China.
Its Constitution establishes Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) as “a not-for-profit, scientific and educational association formed to establish international collaboration among the creators, managers and users of biodiversity information so as to promote the wider and more effective dissemination of information about the world's heritage of biological organisms for the benefit of the world at large.”
The Executive Committee’s decision to host the 2012 meeting in China was based on several factors: 1) A desire to more evenly spread the travel hardship and costs of the meeting around the globe over time, 2) A desire to enable attendees who otherwise would not have the resources to travel internationally,, 3) The Chinese Academy of Science’s offer to host the meeting in 2012, 4) Recent advances in biodiversity informatics in China (e.g. Catalogue of Life, Encyclopedia of Life), and 5) Interest in expanding “international collaboration” and “wider and more effective dissemination of information” through direct contact with the Chinese biodiversity informatics community in their local region, as has been done in other regions of the world in the past. The Executive Committee therefore decided last year to welcome the offer from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which now expects at least 50 local attendees at this year’s meeting, the largest participation of Asian scientists in the history of TDWG meetings.
Objections to holding the meeting in China have cited politically based reasons: “routine governmental suppression of internet connectivity on political grounds.” TDWG is a scientific and educational association, not a political one. TDWG comprises a global membership. Locating a TDWG meeting in a particular country does not imply an endorsement of that country's policies; it is instead an expression of TDWG’s purpose to collaborate to widely disseminate information for the benefit of the world at large. Further, there is no part of TDWG’s constitution, mission or purpose that implies or endorses isolationist, discriminatory, or punitive actions of any kind against anyone, any organization or any political entity.
We look forward to your support to make this another successful and informative annual meeting and the opportunity to exchange cultures in an atmosphere of mutual respect and a common desire to make the world a better place for ourselves and future generations.
Chuck Miller, on behalf of the TDWG Executive Committee
Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG)
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