Makerere University has been a host to the National Biodiversity data bank (NBDB) since early 1990s. The bank however has been off line and has not been readily available to data users. Today, 2019-09-05, in an event held at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University launched an online portal that will be a one stop centre for all the biodiversity data held in the NBDB. The portal is available at www.nbdb.mak.ac.ug.
The move, hailed by members at the launch as a key step in the development of the data bank has been over due and is envisaged to increase access to biodiversity data and information for Uganda. With online presence, the data bank offers opportunities for improved to data , deposition of data by data holders and linkages with other in-country data portals that are either existing or under development including the Freshwater Biodiversity Portal for Uganda being developed at the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute.
During the launch, the management of the NBDB committed to work hard to enrich the online portal with data as soon as possible. From the portal, the data will be available free of charge. At the event, the management of the NBDB outlined future plans for strengthening the data bank and these include intensifying data mobilization, improving engagements with stakeholders, strengthening resource mobilization, capacity building and creating more partnerships. Members present, through a discussion felt that the NBDB should also provide a policy (legal) instrument that defines its mandate and establishment and extend its data mobilization efforts to include data collected by private environment practitioners. However, it was highlighted that such data is prone to errors and needs thorough quality check. Otherwise data from the practitioners provides opportunities to fill data gaps for less surveyed or monitored habitats and taxa.