To increase the level of taxonomic self-reliance within the subregion via human resources capacity building in priority taxonomic areas (COP V/9:2d).
1) Identify taxonomic training needs and resources required (COP IV/1D and V/9:2b).
2) Ensure a nucleus of taxonomists at all NACIs available as a LOOP resource.
3) To provide training in key taxonomic groups at different educational levels, including vocational, technical and higher academic levels (COP IV/1D: Suggestions for Action 5).
4) To develop joint training programmes for the subregion with support from institutes as part of North-South and South-South cooperation (COP IV/1D: Suggestions for Action 3 & 11).
Identification of Needs
1) Knowledge and skills gaps at different educational levels, including vocational, technical and higher academic levels, including technicians, parataxonomists, applied biologists, and taxonomists, identified at NACIs and NIs.
2) Participatory learning models for training of extension agents and farmers/producers assessed for appropriateness to the subregion.
3) Training courses, workshops, materials, resource institutes, trainers and other opportunities identified.
Training - Technicians and Parataxonomists
Technicians are diploma or degree holders, whose duties are to provide assistance to professional officers, and supervise and train technical assistants/parataxonomists. They may require training in basic and advanced aspects of field specimen collection, preparation, processing, documentation and curation; advanced laboratory techniques applicable to taxonomy; data input and retrieval; illustration techniques; identification and classification of priority taxa, for example economically important pests and diseases, endangered species and human disease vectors. Training of technicians and parataxonomists will expand the range of organisms that can be processed in the subregion, reducing the need for international identifications to be carried out and paid for.
A target for the number of people to be trained at each level in each country will be determined by the needs assessment. A short-course (6-12 weeks) option is usually most cost-effective and should be undertaken at key sites within the subregion where possible depending on the outcome of the needs assessment.
Training - Professional Officers
Professional officers are usually degree holders, and include applied biologists as well as specialist taxonomists. To utilise and develop existing subregional expertise five key elements are required:
1) Upgrading of knowledge and skills of both applied biologists and taxonomists already working in key areas;
2) Full training of specialists in key groups of organisms important in the region.
3) This should include providing at least one qualified specialist at each NACI to serve as the focal point of development of further expertise and sustaining the institutional capacity (i.e. 'train the trainer').
4) Applied taxonomists trained in the broader areas of application for example, bio-safety, bio-prospecting, and Intellectual Property Rights and associated taxonomic techniques.
5) Training in business and administrative management for managers of taxonomic institutions as part of efforts to strengthen capacity in those institutions (COP IV/1D: 11)
In all training programmes a key element of sustainability of capacity is the sustained provision of employment for those undergoing the training (COP IV/1D: Suggestions for Action 5).
Develop or acquire appropriate training materials:
1) Training manuals developed and acquired in areas of interest.
2) Diagnostic keys and guides developed.
3) Existing distance learning and multimedia packages on taxonomy and biodiversity acquired and disseminated.
4) EASIANET multimedia packages for specialists and non-specialists developed.
5) Available taxonomic keys and guides adapted into extension support materials to aid farm/field-level biodiversity identification and utilisation.