MOP 4 Decision BS-IV/2

BS-IV/2. Operation and activities of the Biosafety Clearing-House

The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety,

Taking note of the progress report on the implementation of the multi-year programme of work for the operation of the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH),

Noting the results of the 2007-2008 survey, the information relevant to the Biosafety Clearing House contained in the first national reports and the submissions on constrains identified by some Parties on making information available in the Biosafety Clearing-House,

Welcoming the improvements that have made the Central Portal of the Biosafety Clearing-House more user-friendly,

Noting the gaps in some important categories of information in the Biosafety Clearing-House, particularly in the Advance Informed Agreement and risk assessment categories,

Emphasizing the importance of facilitating ease of access to the Biosafety Clearing-House to all Parties as well as the need for Parties to make the results of their decisions available to the public inter alia through the Biosafety Clearing-House,

Emphasizing also the need to ensure sustainability of capacity building to enable developing countries to effectively use the Biosafety Clearing-House,

Recognizing the accomplishments of the UNEP-GEF project entitled "Building Capacity for Effective Participation in the Biosafety Clearing-House of the Cartagena Protocol" and taking note of its upcoming closure,

1. Reminds all Parties of their obligations, and invites all other Governments, to submit to the Biosafety Clearing-House complete information pertaining to decisions regarding the first intentional transboundary movements of living modified organisms for intentional introduction into the environment and the risk assessments associated with such decisions;

2. Urges all Parties and invites all other Governments to provide relevant information to the Biosafety Clearing-House, including information pertaining to decisions regarding the release or import of living modified organisms and risk assessments taken prior to entry into force of the Protocol;

3. Invites Parties, other Governments and users of the Biosafety Clearing-House to continue to make relevant biosafety information and resources available through the Biosafety Information Resource Centre (BIRC);

4. Requests the Executive Secretary, with the view to facilitating the ease of access to the Biosafety Clearing-House to:

(a) Improve the electronic tools available for the analysis of search results (e.g. different sorting options);

(b) Include electronic links to national reports in the country profile pages; and

(c) Undertake additional activities, such as the introduction of online tools for statistical analysis and graphic representations of data;

5. Requests the Executive Secretary to improve the structure of the common formats and simplify the registration procedure, for instance by increasing the use of metadata in addition to free text entry.

6. Also requests the Executive Secretary to implement a procedure for the validation of information in the Central Portal of the Biosafety Clearing-House which establishes a timeframe for the confirmation or updating of information by Parties;

7. Further requests the Executive Secretary to continue assisting national nodes for the Biosafety Clearing-House that are interlinked and interoperable with the Central Portal through the maintenance and improvement of the two applications, ‘Hermes’ and the ‘BCH Ajax Plug-in’;

8. Requests the Executive Secretary to commission a study of users and potential users of the Biosafety Clearing-House in order to:

(a) Assess what information users and potential users of the Biosafety Clearing-House would find useful; and

(b) Prioritize the work programme of the Biosafety Clearing-House in order to focus the efforts of the Secretariat on making the Biosafety Clearing-House a useful tool;

9. Welcomes the offer of the Republic of Korea to organize and sponsor a subregional workshop for enhancing capacity in the use of the Biosafety Clearing-House and invites the Secretariat and the UNEP-GEF Biosafety Clearing-House project to facilitate this initiative;

10. Calls upon Parties, other Governments and donors to provide the required financial resources to support activities referred in paragraphs 4, 7 and 8 above;

11. Urges the Global Environment Facility to extend the UNEP-GEF Biosafety Clearing-House project, in its current form as a global project with a view to ensuring sustainability of national BCH nodes and providing more capacity-building support, with special attention to targeted stakeholders (e.g., customs departments and phytosanitary inspectors), and to provide additional funding for these activities from sources other than the Resource Allocation Framework (RAF) taking into consideration the global nature of the project.