In these circumstances, the obvious solution to the problem of inadequate taxonomic services in developing countries is for them to achieve self?sufficiency and self?reliance in this field by the quickest and cheapest means. Experience in developed countries has shown that it is totally uneconomic and quite unnecessary to establish and sustain fully comprehensive capabilities and resources in each and every country. An approach whereby individual country resources are shared by a group of collaborating nations is much more cost?effective.
A tried and tested mechanism for such a collaborative approach at the subregional level exists in the form of the Technical Cooperation Network (TCN), devised and successfully implemented world?wide by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Taxonomic self?sufficiency in developing countries can best be achieved by training, providing resources to existing taxonomic institutions, and speeding the introduction of appropriate new technologies and skills from expert centres to groups of developing country institutions within Technical Cooperation Networks. BioNET?INTERNATIONAL was devised to meet this very need by establishing subregional TCNs known as LOOPs (Locally Organised and Operated Partnerships).
Parties to the CBD have also recognised the important capacity building role played by subregional networks such as EASIANET by endorsing (via Decision III/10) recommendation II/2 of SBSTTA regarding capacity building: "national institutions and regional and subregional networks should be established or strengthened and linkages enhanced with taxonomic institutions in developing and developed countries". Thus the proposed structure and work programmes of EASIANET are designed to assist the countries of the subregion to build the taxonomic capacity needed for development, including implementation of the COP Decisions.
The LOOPs of BioNET-INTERNATIONAL seek not only to work in close partnership with relevant global and subregional initiatives but to provide a sub-regional focal point and national focal points for all such activities to work through. EASIANET will strive to work with, and provide taxonomic support to, globally recognised initiatives and programmes such as the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP), International Pollinators Initiative (IPI), the Millennium Assessment of Global Ecosystems (MA), Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and the Clearing House Mechanism of the CBD (CHM). Subregionally, EASIANET will seek to build supportive relationships and avoid duplication of effort of a number of initiatives including, for example: DIVERSITAS in West Pacific and Asia (DIWPA); Anet; the East Asian Network for Taxonomy and Biodiversity Conservation (EANetTBC); GaiaList 21; Species 2000 AO (Species 2000 Asia Oceania) and the Asian Network on Microbial Research (ANMR).
The East Asia LOOP is tailor-made to meet the specific taxonomic needs of its member countries and sub-regional development priorities and this document - the detailed Proposal for establishing and operating this LOOP - derives from the deliberations and recommendations of the LOOP Formulation Workshop convened in Beijing, China from 23 to 27 June, 2001. It is intended for submission to relevant government institutions in each country for approval and endorsement.