Edwin van Huis elected CETAF President

EDWIN VAN HUIS elected CETAF PRESIDENT

The new Executive Committee voted in Vienna

New members join the Consortium

The 54th General Assembly of the Consortium of the European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF54) took place on the 28th and 29th of November in Vienna, Austria, hosted by the Natural History Museum of Vienna.

The meeting brought together 60 representatives from the 44 members of CETAF representing 77 institutions from 25 European countries and associated states. As happens every four years, the representatives voted for a new Executive Committee.

The newly elected President of CETAF is Edwin van Huis, Director General of Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden (NL). As Vice-President, the community chose Jana Hoffmann, from the Natural History Museum of Berlin (DE).  Eva Häffner from the Botanical Gardens of Berlin (DE) is the new Secretary. The role of Treasurer will be for François Dusoulier, from the National Natural History Museum of Paris (FR). The Ordinary members are Gergely Babocsay (Hungarian Natural History Museum – HU), Carole Paleco (Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences – BE), Stefan Ӧrgård (Natural History Museum of Gothenburg – SE) and Gila Kahila Bar-Gal (Hebrew University of Jerusalem – IL).

I’m honoured to become the new President of CETAF” – says Edwin van Huis, – “this community has grown and professionalized so much, and I think we can achieve even more. And we will need to, because our institutes are heavily involved in Europe’s aim to bend the curve of biodiversity loss.”

The outgoing President, Michelle Price, Head of Science at the Conservatory and Botanical Garden of Geneva (CH), after ten years at the head of the Consortium, thanked the incoming Executive Committee for their engagement and the outgoing one for their collaboration, hard work and team spirit. This has been a decade of great evolution for CETAF: “We grew into the successful and dynamic community-oriented organisation that we are today, under the strategic framework and will the aim of achieving our objectives in mind. I am proud to see CETAF recognised as the European voice for collections and taxonomy and for geosciences, and I’m privileged to have been part of its current success.”

But CETAF54 has been much more than elections.

The representatives had the opportunity to listen to Lara-Sophie Dey, the young researcher from LIB (Leibniz Institute for Analysis of Biodiversity Change – DE) who won the 4th edition of the CETAF E-SCoRe Award, a prize that CETAF dedicates to the young generation of scientists in the field of taxonomy. The next edition, launched at CETAF 54, will be dedicated to PostDocs.

A relevant part of the meeting was dedicated to further advancing the role of CETAF in the international context, especially under the Global Biodiversity Framework. A strong focus has been placed on supporting taxonomy and integrating taxonomy into political and funding mechanisms as well as hearing the views of the European Commission on this subject, represented by Gilles Doignon (DG Research&Innovation). The CETAF Policy Brief on taxonomy, the Vienna Statement on the importance of research, and the Gothenburg Declaration were approved by the community.

New members are joining the Consortium: the application received from the University of Navarra (ES) has been accepted by the Assembly. At the same time, the University of Tirana (AL) will be an Observer for the next year.

A change in the membership fee structure that has been approved by the GA should make it easier for smaller institutions or university collections to become members of CETAF. This will make the Consortium even more inclusive and strengthen the development of taxonomic expertise on a broader scale.

Right after the end of the GA, the Natural History Museum of Vienna hosted the TETTRIs Stakeholder Lab, an original moment of dialogue between science and industry organized in the context of the Horizon-funded project by the NHM Wien team.

Katrin Vohland, Director General of the Natural History Museum Vienna, concluded: “The great engagement of our CETAF community, as well as the interest and contribution from stakeholders representing companies such as Wienerberger, ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railway) or Boston Consulting Group, show that biodiversity issues are increasingly taken seriously. Joint efforts are urgently needed for a sustainable human-nature relationship.“

The next CETAF General Assembly will be held in Oslo (Norway) on the 22nd and 23rd of May, 2024.

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