. Agenda item 3.8: The role of the clearing-house mechanism in promoting technical and scientific cooperation
Agenda Item 3.8: The role of the Clearing-House Mechanism in promoting technical and scientific cooperation
Recalling decision I/3 of the Conference of Parties that a clearing-house mechanism should be established in accordance with Article 18, paragraph 3, of the Convention to promote and facilitate technical and scientific cooperation;
Recalling also decision II/3 of the Conference of Parties on the development of the clearing-house mechanism through the establishment of a pilot phase for 1996-1997 and related activities to promote technical and scientific cooperation;
Having examined the Note by the Secretariat (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/9) which emphasizes the main features of the Operational Framework of the pilot phase of the clearing-house mechanism: information linking and organization, visualization and the decision-support function;
Noting the recent developments among the different active partners, and also noting the following:
1. Technical and scientific cooperation in all aspects of biological diversity, including taxonomy and transfer of technology, are crucial to ensuring the capacity of the clearing-house mechanism to play an important role for the implementation of the Convention;
2. The need for the clearing-house mechanism to be clearly focused on the implementation of the Convention;
3. The need for the clearing-house mechanism activities to include information exchange modalities additional to the Internet to ensure the participation of Parties without Internet access;
4. The need for capacity-building for the purposes of the clearing-house mechanism in developing countries, including training on information systems technologies that will allow developing countries to take advantage of the recent developments in electronic communication, including the Internet;
5. The advantages of pilot projects focused on priority areas identified by the Conference of Parties which would enable developing countries to begin to implement the main features of the pilot phase of the clearing-house mechanism;
Recommends to the Conference of Parties that it:
1. Request the Global Environment Facility to support the activities in paragraphs 4 and 5 above as critical components in the implementation of the clearing-house mechanism at the national, subregional and regional levels, including in the pilot phase.
2. Request the Secretariat to facilitate regional workshops with a view to clearly defining country and regional-level scientific and technical information needs for the implementation of the Convention. The workshops could also review ventures of scientific and technical cooperation furthering the objectives of the Convention to identify the ways in which the clearing-house mechanism can best facilitate such cooperation. In view of the Conference of Parties budget decision it will be necessary to encourage voluntary contributions to enable the regional workshops.
3. Recognize the key characteristics of the clearing-house mechanism, i.e. that it should be compatible with national capacities, needs-driven, decentralised in nature, provide access to metadata, provide support to the decision-making process, and involve the private sector.
4. Recognize that ownership and control of all information remain with the providers, respecting the rights of countries of origin and of indigenous and local communities.
5. Endorse the proposal of the Secretariat for the publication of a clearing-house mechanism newsletter.
6. Ensure that the clearing-house mechanism is helped in its functioning by an informal advisory committee, constituted and coordinated by the Executive Secretary in a transparent manner, which will guide and integrate the development of the pilot phase activities and ensure that all Parties can participate in the pilot phase of the clearing-house mechanism.
7. Focus the work of the clearing-house mechanism at the national level on providing relevant information linkages to the National Focal Points and relevant thematic and international agencies, in order to facilitate the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. Linkages to patent offices in each country for up-to-date information on new patent registrations and patents in the public domain provide an example of one mechanism.
8. Focus the work of the clearing-house mechanism at the international level on providing thematic focal points for linking to the activities at the national and regional level.
9. Recognize that close cooperation is needed with other conventions and agreements, and call for the Secretariat to identify those activities and organizations which could support the clearing-house mechanism.
10. Recognize the role of the Secretariat to coordinate the successful implementation of the clearing-house mechanism, and recommend that the clearing-house mechanism posts within the Secretariat should be filled as soon as possible.