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SBSTTA Recommendation

. Agenda item 8: Promotion of international technical and scientific cooperation: report on the implementation of the pilot phase of the clearing-house mechanism



Recalling decision I/3 of the Conference of the 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 the Parties on the development of the clearing-house mechanism through the establishment of a pilot-phase 1996-1997, extended by decision III/4 until December 1998, and related activities to promote technical and scientific cooperation,

Recalling further decision III/4 of the Conference of the Parties that the clearing-house mechanism is expeditiously implemented in accordance with the expectations of the Parties,

Recalling decision III/4 of the Conference of the Parties that the key characteristics of the clearing-house mechanism are, inter alia, that it should be demand-driven, decentralized in nature and provide support for the decision-making process,

Notes that the clearing-house mechanism is still in its pilot-phase and will be developed in a step-by-step process, based on the experiences gained by the partners of the Convention and the expectations and needs expressed by the Parties,

Notes further that the clearing-house mechanism is a mechanism with a variety of functions and services to the Parties, inter alia exchange of information, identification and facilitation of the transfer of technologies and capacity building,

Acknowledges the concrete recommendations for the functioning of the clearing-house mechanism formulated in the information document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/3/Inf.12,

Acknowledges further decision III/4 of the Conference of the Parties that recognizes the role of the secretariat in the coordination of the implementation of the clearing-house mechanism,

Notes that the Conference of the Parties decisions (I/3, II/3-4, II/7-8, II/10-11, II/14, II/16-17, III/4-5, III/9-11, III/15, III/17-19) have clearly stressed and broadened the roles of the clearing-house mechanism as a key instrument to promote and facilitate the implementation of all aspects of the Convention,

Noting also:

(a) 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;

(b) The advantages of country-driven 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;

(c) The clearing-house mechanism activities to include communication technologies appropriate to all countries and exchange modalities additional to the Internet to ensure the participation of Parties without Internet access;

(d) The need for the clearing-house mechanism to be clearly focused on the implementation of the Convention;

Recommends to the Conference of the Parties that it:

1. Request the Global Environment Facility to play a substantial role as a major catalyst in the full development and implementation of the clearing-house mechanism so that it can play its role in promoting and facilitating the implementation of the Convention, in a participatory manner and fully incorporating the modern information and communication tools available;

2. Provide guidance to the Global Environment Facility so that financial resources are provided:

- to support the pilot phase as an enabling activity, including: regional workshops, regional efforts, sub-regional and national studies and training materials;

- to strengthen national biological diversity information systems and networks and their linkage to the clearing-house mechanism;

3. Request all Governments and bilateral and multilateral funding institutions to provide funding for the development and implementation of the clearing-house mechanism as an important instrument for the implementation of the Convention, including financial support to the regional clearing-house mechanism workshops;

4. Request the Parties to develop concrete examples on best practices of the use of the clearing-house mechanism to facilitate the implementation of the Convention and disseminate the information also in printed form;

5. Request all Parties to make available best practices and access to expertise on the implementation of the Convention=s objectives and recommendations by the Parties, as well as advice on the best ways and means to promote and facilitate scientific and technological cooperation among the Parties in particular with developing country Parties;

6. Invite the Parties to disseminate, through the clearing-house mechanism, information on funding sources regarding the implementation of the Convention;

7. Further recommend that Parties include in their National Reports activities undertaken to implement their national clearing-house mechanisms;

8. Recommend that Parties should organize a national clearing-house mechanism Steering Committee or Working Group composed of multisectoral and interdisciplinary representatives, to achieve broad participation of different stakeholders on national level in the implementation process of the clearing-house mechanism;

9. Invite the Parties and other partners to use the clearing-house mechanism logo as a unifying element creating a clearing-house mechanism identity;

10. Recommend that, in building up the content of information in the clearing-house mechanism either at the secretariat or other level, the following major content elements, among others, be used:

Secretariat level: Convention on Biological Diversity and its implementation, national focal points, international themes, financial sources; Other level: country profile, national strategy and action plans, national legislation, scientific and technological information;

11. Direct the secretariat to implement a list-server with all officially designated clearing-house mechanism national focal points and other partners to disseminate information on new and recent developments in regard to the clearing-house mechanism, on either the national, regional or international level;

12. Direct the secretariat to improve synergy in regard to information exchange with Convention on Biological Diversity-related conventions and ongoing international/supranational information initiatives in order to encourage and optimize cooperation and collaboration;

13. Support the Executive Secretary to implement decision III/4, paragraph 10, in convening the informal clearing-house mechanism Advisory Committee;

14. Ensure that the clearing-house mechanism must be practical, innovative, decentralized and creative and based on a network of partners, use a simple structure, and be designed to continue effectively beyond the pilot phase;

15. Recommend the regional workshops to examine, inter alia, aspects that:

- identify potential users of information;

- define information needs and priorities of Parties;

- examine ways and means to exchange information;

- assess information and communication resources available for the implementation of the Convention;

- identify actions that contribute to capacity-building at the national level;

and make the reports on the regional meetings available to the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties,

16. Recommend that the principal role of the secretariat, following establishment of the framework of the clearing-house mechanism, be that of providing a gateway and facilitate access to the clearing-house mechanism network and making available information arising from the secretariat’s own functions as outlined in Article 24 of the Convention;

17. Direct that the secretariat undertake an independent review of the pilot phase of the clearing-house mechanism in 1998, to be presented to the fourth meeting of the SBSTTA for its consideration;

18. Recommend that, in launching the independent review of the clearing-house mechanism pilot phase, the following elements for evaluation, among others, be used:

- number of national focal points fully and effectively connected;

- number and relevance of thematic focal points connected;

- amount of information transferred from participating nodes;

- number and effectiveness of training events;

- effectiveness of guidelines in achieving their aims;

- whether the clearing-house mechanism is being effectively used by parties to further the aims of the Convention;

- number of nodes supplying relevant information such as national reports, legislation and policies;

- use made of discussion lists;

- financial support provided for the implementation of the clearing-house mechanism.