On Diversity and Equality

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Diversity, equality and inclusion has been very much in the news recently, creating an opportunity for us all to think about our own values. As a global organisation, with member institutions in 100 countries, BGCI is the world in microcosm. At BGCI, as I hope with most of human society, we want to support all who face inequality and racial injustice. Racism has no place at BGCI. It has no place in conservation and no place in our community.

BGCI’s mission is to mobilise botanic gardens and engage partners in securing plant diversity for the well-being of people and the planet. The well-being of people will not happen without systematic changes to address inequality.

We have taken the opportunity to reflect on our own practices, acknowledge our responsibilities and consider what steps we need to take to better support our staff, organisation and community. We acknowledge our responsibility to build an equal and just environment within our own organisation and to support our community in their efforts to build an equal and just environment in theirs.

BGCI will review and enhance our policy on equality, diversity and inclusion this year and ensure that this is embedded within our new five-year strategy that is being developed at the moment. This will include strengthening of the BGCI Board and International Advisory Committee to ensure that these BGCI leadership groups represent our diverse global community and promote equal and inclusive opportunities for all.

BGCI is a convening, membership organisation. We have more than 625 institutional members across the globe. We are proud of the diversity of our membership, but acknowledge that our membership reflects the fact that 85% of botanic gardens are situated in the northern hemisphere. In our next five-year strategy, there is a strong emphasis on growing our regional hubs in Africa, South East Asia and Latin America to provide more support to botanic gardens in these areas. We are working and will continue to improve efforts to support botanic gardens across the world and in diverse communities wherever they are.

We will also continue to support our community in their efforts to ensure botanic gardens are open and accessible spaces for all to enjoy. In this context, institutional policies on diversity, equality and inclusion remain an important criterion in BGCI’s Accreditation Scheme and a strong focus of BGCI’s public engagement programme.

Here we share statements on anti-racism, social equality, and justice from some of our members to demonstrate what they are doing to put an end to inequalities in their communities:

We are happy to share statements from all of our members. For your statement to be added to this list, please contact us.

Paul Smith