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(Last revised: May 5, 2010 )
(Further information: bbch@wiv-isp.be)

Biosafety Clearing-House: Data Search and Input

The Division of Biosafety and Biotechnology (SBB), in collaboration with the Belgian focal point for the Convention on biological diversity (CBD), has proposed between 2003 and 2006 a training programme for national Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) Focal Points of developing countries. The programme consisted in a two-weeks course held in Brussels, Belgium.
This training was an extension of the partnering project established since 1998 by the Belgian CBD focal point in the context of the Clearing-House Mechanisms (CHM) of the Convention. SBB was co-organising the training thanks to its long expertise and experience in the development and management of Internet-based systems for information sharing in the field of biosafety and to its active role in the follow-up at Belgian level of the Cartagena Protocol (see chapter "About this site" for more information). The training has been made possible through a financing of the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGDC) of Belgium.

This initiative has now been stopped.


The Biosafety Clearing-House (see Article 20 of the Cartagena Protocol) is a critical component for the implementation of the Biosafety Protocol. It is established not only to facilitate the exchange of information on living modified organisms (LMOs) but also to allow Parties to make available certain information required under the Protocol. It is therefore critical that all countries have the necessary capacity to provide and retrieve information in the BCH effectively in order to fulfil their obligations under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
The Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety has recognized the importance of meeting the capacity needs of all countries with respect to implementation and use of the Biosafety Clearing-House, and has invited developed country Governments to provide financial support and appropriate technical assistance notably to assist developing countries to develop their own national databases that are interoperable with the Biosafety Clearing-House.

The primary objective of the initiative was to train BCH national Focal Points from developing countries to enable them to retrieve information from the BCH and to provide information through the BCH.
The training course allowed the participants to learn how to use the central portal of the BCH, to implement and manage a local database (including management of a network of partners), to present information required under the Protocol and other relevant biosafety-related information.
Depending on the participants, the course was given in French and/or in English.
The scope and programme of the training course was adapted on a regular basis to match the latest evolution at international level in the development of the Biosafety Clearing-House.

The following training courses have been held:
- 13 to 31 October 2003, gathering representatives from Cameroon, Djibouti and Madagascar.
- 18 to 29 October 2004, with delegates from Burkina Faso, the Centrafrican Republic and Niger.
- 9 to 23 May 2005, gathering representatives from Congo Brazaville, Mauritania and Togo.
- 21 November to 2 December 2005, gathering representatives from Burundi, Mali and Senegal.
- 8 to 19 May 2006, gathering representatives from Comoros, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire.

The partnership for the Biosafety Clearing-House was restricted to delegates from developing countries. Participants had to be nominated as BCH national Focal Points or be directly involved in information sharing under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.


BELGIAN BIOSAFETY CLEARING-HOUSE
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