LIFE RIPARIAS: privacy policy


We - LIFE RIPARIAS partners - collect, process and publish information regarding the occurrence of invasive alien species (IAS) to support scientific research and policy, and have a legitimate interest to do so. Beyond that, we collect the minimum amount of personal information needed. We don’t sell this information to third parties and we process it only as described in this privacy policy.

What data we process

Species occurrence data: evidence (e.g. in the form of an observation) of a species occurring at a given date, time and location. Location information is often represented by precise coordinates of where the species was observed. Information about the date, time and location of an occurrence is indispensable in the management of IAS. Without detailed knowledge of the exact when and where of an IAS, no timely actions can be taken to detect, prevent the spread or eradicate the species. All species occurrence records will thus be published using the exact place and date information of the observation. The legal basis for this processing is described below.

Personal data included in species occurrence data: this includes the name of the persons who observed the species, identified the species, or contributed in another way to a dataset (e.g. dataset authors). Note that a species occurrence record can directly indicate where an observer was at a given date and time. To protect the privacy of these persons, we will not publish their name, unless they gave consent to do so.

Personal data used by the LIFE RIPARIAS early alert: we store the name and email address of users who register for the LIFE RIPARIAS early alert, so we can send them email alerts of newly observed species. This information is kept private and users can manage and remove this information.

How do we process data?

We collect species occurrence data in the field: species occurrence data are collected through IAS monitoring actions performed by and stored in various database systems managed by the following institutions:

  • Contrats des Rivières Dendre, Senne, Dyle/Gette
  • Walloon Research Department of Natural and Agricultural Areas (DEMNA)
  • Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)
  • Flanders Environment Agency (VMM)
  • Bruxelles Environnement (BE)
  • Rato VZW
  • Dienst Integraal Waterbeleid, province East Flanders
  • University of Liège

We publish species occurrence data to GBIF: to facilitate scientific research and policy, we publish species occurrence data as open data to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). For this, each data source is standardized to a common format - the Darwin Core standard - documented with metadata to describe the context and published online with an open data license. We do not publish the names of persons (in data or metadata) unless we have their consent to do so.

We facilitate access and use species occurrence data from GBIF: we download public species occurrence data from GBIF on a daily basis, store this information in an aggregated database and provide free access to interested parties through our LIFE RIPARIAS early alert. This public information includes data collected and published by us and other parties, e.g. data collected through citizen science portals such as, and

Why do we process data?

The purpose of this processing is to set-up a cost-effective workflow that maximizes the flow of information from occurrence data owned by field managers and citizen scientists into an early warning application. The successful management of invasive alien species (IAS) strongly depends on time. To mitigate the problem, an early detection and rapid response is key. The open data publication of each data source to GBIF is a key element in this workflow. Thanks to the GBIF facilities (data download and web services) and the fact that the data are all formatted the same way, data aggregation into a single LIFE RIPARIAS database is fairly simple and can be fully automated.

By publishing data to GBIF, the LIFE RIPARIAS project deliberately chooses for open data since this:

  • Supports transparent, evidence-based policy
  • Is more impactful, since data can be used by for many use cases
  • Is easier to engage with
  • Is more scalable (e.g. can answer more complex questions than for which data were collected)
  • Requires less complex infrastructure (e.g. no authentication)
  • Stimulates collaboration

The legal basis for processing 

The EU Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of IAS (No 1143/2014) states that each member state of the European Union should take all necessary steps to prevent the introduction, establishment and spread of IAS. Each Member State needs to set up a continuous surveillance system which collects and records data on the occurrences of IAS (Art. 14). This surveillance system must be sufficiently dynamic to detect rapid changes. For this, the provision of precise information on species occurrence coordinates is instrumental. This regulation is applicable to the species list of alien species of Union Concern. Therefore, the provision of precise location of IAS is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the exercise of official authority (Article 6(1)(e) of the GDPR).

Additionally, the provision of precise location of non-IAS is necessary to pursue our and the public’s interest to share the data for research purposes (article 6(1)(f) of the GDPR).

What are your rights? 

Under certain circumstances, you have one or more of the following rights:

  • You have the right to request access to your personal data. This enables you to receive a copy of the personal data we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
  • You have the right to request correction of your personal data that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.
  • You have the right to request erasure of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal data where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. To the extent that continued processing of your personal data is necessary, for example in order for us to comply with our legal obligations or for legal requirements to be established, enforced or defended, we are not required to delete your personal data.
  • You have the right to object to our processing of your personal data where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground.
  • You may have the right to request the restriction of processing of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal data about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.
  • In cases where we process your data based on your consent, you are entitled to withdraw it at any time. If you wish to withdraw your consent, please contact us through

If you have questions, unresolved concerns, or a complaint about how we process your personal data you also have the right to complain to the Data Protection Officer of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) or to the Belgian Data Protection Authority, or where you consider a breach of data protection law has occurred.


Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)

Havenlaan 881 1000 Brussel,

+32 (0)473 81 49 28

You can also lodge a complaint with the Belgian Data Protection Authority where you consider a breach of data protection law has occurred.

Belgian Data Protection Authority

Drukpersstraat 35, 1000 Brussel,,

+32 (0)2 274 48 00.