Resources and activities
The Clearing-House Mechanism seeks to support the Convention's thematic and cross-cutting programmes of work by promoting cooperation, exchanging information and developing a network of partners. The mechanism's first priority was to ensure universal access to the Convention's official records. The texts of the Convention and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, lists of signatories and Parties, and official reports and documents have been made available through the Convention's website, on CD-ROM and in paper form. Since then, the range of available information has been greatly expanded. Users can now readily access case studies, national reports, and other relevant documentation.
The mechanisms key characteristics
- Compatible with different levels of national capacity
- Structurally decentralized
- Provides access to information
- Supports decision-making
- Has no vested interest in controlling the expertise or information
- Created for the mutual benefit of all Parties and other stakeholders
The Clearing-House also seeks to increase public awareness of Convention programmes and issues. It is establishing an Internet-based system to facilitate greater collaboration among countries through education and training projects, research cooperation, funding opportunities, access to and transfer of technology, and repatriation of information.
An important initiative was the creation of the Central Portal of the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH)
to support the Cartagena Protocol. This on-line system facilitates the exchange of legal, scientific, environmental and other relevant information related to living modified organisms (LMOs).
The Secretariat of the Convention is promoting the clearing-house and its goals through workshops addressing the scientific and technical information needs of developing countries. These workshops give priority to issues identified by the countries themselves, such as assessing national capacities for implementing the Convention, improving access to new information technologies and expertise, and strengthening Public Education and Awareness.