Genetic biodiversity is recognised by the Convention on Biological Diversity and the EC Biodiversity Strategy as one of three essential elements of living diversity, yet it is poorly represented at the policy level, compared to the two other components, species and ecosystems. The CONGRESS consortium aims to rectify this situation by delivering dissemination tools which policy makers and conservation managers can conveniently use to incorporate genetic biodiversity into their policy framework. The six work packages of this project fall into two components. The first component comprises WPs 1 – 5 which will provide a one-stop, community-enabled web portal, including the following components. WP1 concerns web portal design and construction. WP2 will provide databases on academics and professional end-users, publications and genetic data for key European species of conservation concern. WP3 will provide a simulation tool for biodiversity managers to assess the power of genetic data to reveal processes which may result in genetic erosion. WP4 will provide a decision matrix module to allow end-users to establish optimal policy and management options given the genetic data which have been produced. WP5 will provide a knowledge pack and information leaflets, translated into the main European languages, which can be assembled into a manual. The second component is WP6, which comprises a series of dissemination and exchange workshops carried out across the European Union, including a transborder workshop and hands-on demonstration meeting in Eastern Europe. CONGRESS will integrate and enhance these work packages by using the workshops as forums to discuss the contents of the portal and will be guided by an end-user advisory group, who will oversee the development of these tools and ensure their utility for the community who will benefit from them.
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