Based on the recommendations of the Group of Experts on the Biosafety Clearing-House contained in annex I to document UNEP/CBD/ICCP/1/3, in particular, that the Biosafety Clearing-House should be established in a phased manner beginning with a pilot phase;
1. Recommends that the pilot phase of the Biosafety Clearing-House should be guided by the principles of inclusiveness, transparency and equity, that the pilot phase be open to all governments and address the mechanisms for both electronic and non-electronic information sharing. The ICCP also recommends that the Pilot phase be developed in a manner to meet the objectives and with the characteristics identified below, and include on a priority basis the elements identified as necessary to achieve the following:
(i) To build experience and provide feedback for the development of a functional and accessible internet based BCH; and to identify alternatives to the electronic system;
(ii) To identify and address the capacity needs of countries with respect to the BCH.
(b) Characteristics of the pilot phase
(i) Must be amenable to rapid development;
(ii) Must be user-friendly, searchable, and understandable;
(iii) Provide an efficient mechanism for implementation of the requirements of the Protocol;
(iv) Incorporate on a priority basis:
a. Information to facilitate decision-making, including that required under the Advance Informed Agreement procedure: information on focal points, national competent authorities, national legislation, decisions and risk assessment reports;
b. Information for Article 11, paragraph 1 (LMO-FFPs);
c. Access to the roster of experts, following final decision on the operation of the roster;
(c) Elements required to implement the pilot phase:
(i) A central portal;
(ii) Central database(s) that contain(s) at a minimum:
a. Information from countries without a national database (e.g. information in accordance with Article 20, paragraph 3(a), of the Protocol);
b. Information sent from countries without an electronic infrastructure (e.g. information in accordance with Article 10, paragraph 3, and Article 20, paragraphs (c) and (d) of the Protocol);
c. Information required to implement Article 11, paragraph 1;
d. Searchable indexes of information to facilitate decision-making, including that required under the Advance Informed Agreement procedure;
(iii) Linkage of central portal to national, regional and international databases/nodes;
(iv) Common formats for information, which can incorporate linked information through appropriate search engines;2. Proposes that the pilot phase of the Biosafety Clearing-House should be implemented in accordance with the recommendations contained in the annex below.
Recalling Article 20, paragraph 1, of the Protocol, the ICCP recommends that the Biosafety Clearing-House be developed and administered by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The ICCP recognizes that the clearing-house mechanism and the Biosafety Clearing-House have distinctly different roles, and recommends that at the technical and operational levels, the Biosafety Clearing-House shall be run as a distinct element. The ICCP notes that countries should decide upon establishment of the national component of the Biosafety Clearing-House.
The ICCP requests the Executive Secretary to seek the appropriate administrative arrangements with relevant international organizations, such as the OECD and UNIDO, and Governments, to facilitate implementation of the project plan set out in this recommendation.
The ICCP recommends to the Executive Secretary, that during the pilot phase use is made of existing information systems, such as the use of the ICGEB database and the OECD/UNIDO databases, including the product database, as models for implementing the obligations under Articles 10 and 11, paragraph1, of the Biosafety Protocol.
The ICCP mandates the ICCP Bureau to oversee further modifications that will have to be made to existing databases to meet the specific requirements of the Biosafety Clearing-House under the Protocol and to ensure access of all countries to them.
Oversight and management
The ICCP mandates the ICCP Bureau to provide management oversight of the development and implementation of the pilot phase of the Biosafety Clearing-House.
The ICCP mandates the ICCP Bureau to draw upon appropriate technical advisory expertise to facilitate the development and implementation of the pilot phase of the Biosafety Clearing-House.
The ICCP encourages Governments with national databases to facilitate the establishment of linkages to the Biosafety Clearing-House.
Monitoring and reviewThe ICCP requests the Executive Secretary to report to the ICCP at its second meeting on the progress of the pilot phase and to commission an independent and transparent review of the pilot phase, utilizing feedback from participating countries and indicators to measure success against the objectives of the pilot phase, at established time intervals. The review should also identify the areas of capacity-building related to implementation of the Biosafety Clearing-House, highlighted by the pilot phase, taking into account regional aspects.
The ICCP urges Governments to submit to the Executive Secretary their priority needs regarding capacities to participate in the development of the pilot phase of the Biosafety Clearing-House.
The ICCP requests the Executive Secretary, on a continuing basis, to analyse the identified capacity-building and financial requirements of the developing countries, in particular the least developed and small island developing States among them, and countries with economies in transition, as well as countries that are centres of origin and centres of genetic diversity, to enable their active participation in the pilot phase of the Biosafety Clearing-House. This information will be provided to Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations with a role in capacity-building.
The pilot phase should also lead to the identification of capacity-building needs of those countries to be linked to the Biosafety Clearing-House, with a view to establishing a capacity-building programme addressing those needs.
LanguagesThe ICCP recommends that, during the pilot phase, the language to be used in the development of the central database, will be the language employed currently in the databases to be accessed. In order to allow for all possible future choices, the design of the pilot phase should enable the use of all six official United Nations languages at a later stage.
ResourcesThe ICCP urges developed country governments and other donors to provide financial support and appropriate technical assistance to the Executive Secretary to enable the pilot phase to be implemented as soon as possible, taking into account the need to review the pilot phase at the second meeting of the ICCP.
Project planThe ICCP recommends the following elements of a project plan to ensure timely implementation of the pilot phase of the Biosafety Clearing-House:
- Establish the central portal
- Create the appropriate administrative arrangements and partnerships with other international organizations and Governments
- Identify the relevant national, regional and international databases and resources and, where appropriate, establish linkages with them
- Establish (a) central database(s)
- Identify and develop appropriate common information formats and appropriate information search mechanisms, and incorporate mechanisms for adapting existing systems to conform to BCH requirements
- Prepare a report assessing the capabilities of all interested governments, especially Parties with respect to the implementation of the Biosafety Clearing-House and identification of capacity-building needs. The assessment could include:
- Develop a mechanism for non-electronic information-sharing.
(a) Identification of countries with and without electronic information systems including Internet connectivity.
(b) Identification of needs of those countries not having access.
(c) Identification of existing national systems similar to the BCH as well as relevant international databases.
(d) Identification of necessary measures to be taken to meet capacity-building needs of all interested governments, especially Parties.
The ICCP recommends that all tasks are to be initiated within one month of availability of resources.
The ICCP requests the Executive Secretary to develop a work plan for completion of all tasks in a timeframe that would allow for relevant consideration by the second meeting of the ICCP.
The ICCP urges Governments to submit appropriate information in time to allow for implementation of the work plan, but no later than three months after the first meeting of the ICCP.