Frequently Asked Questions
What is IBAT?
The Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) provides key decision-makers with access to critical information on biodiversity priority sites to inform decision-making processes and address any potential biodiversity impacts. Developed through a partnership of global conservation leaders including BirdLife International, Conservation International (CI), the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the vision of IBAT is that decisions affecting critical natural habitats are informed by the best scientific information and in turn decision makers will support the quest to collect and enhance the underlying datasets and maintain that scientific information. To accomplish this, the IBAT alliance is developing a set of web-based decision support systems that provide easy access to site-scale conservation priorities to inform project screening/planning for several target audiences. It should be noted that IBAT is very much a first step, and does not remove the need for more detailed research such as that undertaken through a thorough Environmental Impact Assessment.
IBAT for Business was the first product of this ambitious vision for getting the best in biodiversity data into the decision making processes of the private sector. The IBAT Alliance believes that decision-makers from the public and private sectors have an opportunity to lead the way in integrating biodiversity considerations into project development and planning processes. Using the best in science available through IBAT for Business, companies can make informed decisions that integrate conservation concerns when considering activities such as planning new operations or assessing risks associated with sourcing practices.
Why is there a cost for IBAT?
The IBAT Alliance is a partnership of 4 leading non-profit conservation organization. In order to ensure the ongoing availability of the application the IBAT Alliance developed a fee for the ease of access and rich features that the IBAT for Business tool provides. The set fee structure, based on a company’s annual revenue, ensures that any private sector entity—large or small—can access this important data to inform their project development and planning decisions. Opertational costs covered by this set fee include data aggregation, software development, web hosting, support and training. In the longer term it is anticipated that these fees will cover more than the essential operational costs, providing a financial contribution to the collection, maintenance and enhancement of the underlying data that is critical to global conservation efforts.
The value of IBAT is entirely reliant on the accuracy and update of the foundation data sets. Compiling and verifying the underlying data sets of threatened species, protected areas and priority sites for conservation is a massive task, involving 10s of 1,000s of people from 100s of organizations around the world. Over the next three years, it is estimated that the IBAT partners will invest over US$45 million improving and extending these data sets. Whilst it is not anticipated that IBAT would raise $45 million, the aspiration is that the subscription service will not only cover the operational costs of the IBAT but will also generate funds that will directly support the most pressing data development activities - whether that be Red Listing species, identifying priority sites for conservation or improving the quality of the existing spatial data.
Users are paying for access to the site and the fee structure is dependent on the company’s net revenues, as is a standard way to price such a tool. While much of the information is available through the various disparate data holdings of each organization, IBAT for Business provides a cost efficient service through which to access and interpret the combined datasets.
This data is also being offered through another platform “IBAT for Research and Conservation Planning” to NGOs, universities and researchers at no cost.
To request a webinar and to arrange a time to discuss your most appropriate subscription options please contact the IBAT Alliance.
Does IBAT enforce regulations?
IBAT is a decision support tool, providing access to a set of key biodiversity conservation related data sets. By using the data within IBAT to integrate biodiversity considerations into project and development planning processes, private sector businesses, government agencies and development banks can contribute to unprecedented conservation benefits. However, use of the tool is not a requirement by any formal entity. Use of the tool by companies is entirely voluntary but can be incredibly valuable at the site level to inform risk assessment procedures for existing and potential operations. This information can also inform subsequent steps of the project life cycle and lead to the formation of biodiversity strategies that avoid, minimize and offset potential impacts. Too often, biodiversity concerns are discovered too late. Through IBAT for Business, the IBAT Alliance is working furiously to change this dynamic by providing the private sector with access to key data sets, through a simple to use web interface, such that they can make better decisions earlier in a project life cycle. The promotion of strong regulations, market incentives and consumer demands for better development processes that value biodiversity are critical and are undertaken by many IBAT Alliance Partners. Please refer to the partners respective websites for more information on our work in this area.
Key IBAT contacts
- Neville Ash, Director, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre
- Leo Viana, Conservation International
- Melanie Heath, Director of Science, Policy and Information, BirdLife International
- Jane Smart, Global Director - Global Species Programme, IUCN
IBAT Alliance contact email