In recent decades, numerous agencies, institutions and foundations around the world have supported the organization and delivery of digital information on biodiversity at global, national and other scales in support of scientific research, policy decisions and public engagement.
However, such initiatives are generally guided by local priorities and focus on short-term deliverables using project funding. This scenario leads to duplication of effort and overlapping mandates which have delayed progress toward a sustainable, coordinated and interconnected global infrastructure for biodiversity information.
- In 2009, the e-Biosphere 09 conference brought together stakeholders from around the world to review progress and consider needs, but made no progress in aligning activities.
- In 2012, the Global Biodiversity Informatics Conference (GBIC) developed a report, the Global Biodiversity Informatics Outlook: Delivering biodiversity knowledge in the Information Age, or GBIO, which outlined an interconnected view of priority areas where the biodiversity informatics community needed to make progress.
- In 2013, the Biodiversity Informatics Horizons led to a set of recommendations published as A decadal view of biodiversity informatics: challenges and priorities, which offered a series of recommendations for advancing the field.
- Between 2011 and 2014, the European Commission funded the CReATIVE-B project—Coordination of Research e-Infrastructures Activities Toward an International Virtual Environment for Biodiversity—to enable a number of major initiatives to explore synergies and alignments between their activities.
- In 2015, the European Union's Horizon 2020 research programme funded the GLOBIS-B project, which aims to foster global cooperation between biodiversity research infrastructures and biodiversity scientists in support of Essential Biodiversity Variables introduced through GEO BON, the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network.
- Most recently, in March 2017, the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung hosted a workshop on Exploring Synergies and Sustainability for Biodiversity Information Systems. Attendees representing global data infrastructures, national data centres and major research institutions agreed on the need to establish a shared mechanism for planning and delivering a linked and open global biodiversity data infrastructure.
The overall vision for GBIC2 is to 1) provide a framework for international parties to work together efficiently and 2) enable a global network of institutions and organizations to be able to take responsibility for components that fit together to create a fully interconnected whole.
Attendees at the March 2017 workshop proposed that GBIF could undertake a steering role around development of priorities and around coordinating efforts to secure sustainable funding and delivery of these priorities. The GBIF Governing Board responded to this request by supporting plans for GBIC2 in Copenhagen on 24–27 July 2018.