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
(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
(iv) Common formats for information, which can incorporate linked information
through appropriate search engines;
that the pilot phase of the Biosafety Clearing-House
should be implemented in accordance with the recommendations contained in the
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
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 review
The 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.
The 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.
The 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.
The 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:
(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.
- Develop a mechanism for non-electronic information-sharing.
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.