The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature is the international body responsible for the effective use and implementation of scientific names for animals. The Commission publishes the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature which dictates how animals are to be named and used, including the publication of rulings (called Opinions) on scientific names.
Hitherto, the Commission was funded through the International Trust on Zoological Nomenclature, which has since run out of money.
Recognising the vital function of the Commission to science in general, and to zoology in particular, the Office of the Deputy President (Research and Technology) of National University of Singapore, with support from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research is organising and hosting a meeting of the Commission in NUS from 17–20 November 2013. The journals Nature and Science have both provided excellent online news coverage on the meeting, and discuss the major challenges that face the Commission.
The University has also agreed to fund a Singapore-based secretariat for the next three years. Professor Barry Halliwell, NUS Deputy President (Research and Technology), says that “Singapore and the surrounding Southeast Asian region are enormously rich in animal life, with new species being discovered weekly. NUS has for many years conducted excellent research on biology and biodiversity, and how it will be affected by environmental changes; and we therefore recognise the importance of the zoological commission and its activities. We are proud to host the secretariat of the ICZN.”
The NUS commitment to support the Commission for the next three years will allow the Commission to tackle nomenclatural issues related to the wider scientific community, as well as organisational issues which will determine its future.