The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Decision EM-I/3, paragraph 14, established a regionally balanced roster of experts nominated by Governments, in fields relevant to risk assessment and risk management related to the Protocol. The mandate of the roster, as specified in decision EM-I/3 is to "provide advice and other support, as appropriate and upon request, to developing country Parties and Parties with economies in transition, to conduct risk assessment, make informed decisions, develop national human resources and promote institutional strengthening, associated with the transboundary movements of living modified organisms".
Moreover, the roster of experts should perform all other functions assigned to it by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol in the future, in particular in the fields of capacity-building.
Each expert shall act solely in their personal capacity, regardless of any other governmental, industry, organizational or academic affiliation.
The operation of the roster will be subject to independent periodic review.
Interim Guidelines for the Roster of Experts and a pilot-phase of a voluntary trust fund for the roster have been established and adopted according to decision BS-I/4 of the First Meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol (MOP-1). Parties and Governments were requested to nominate experts (no more that 50 per country and no more than 5 per area of specialization) and/or update information currently contained in the roster.
At its third meeting, the COP-MOP in its decision BS-III/4 outlined a process aimed at strengthening the quality, effectiveness and level of use of the Roster of Biosafety Experts.
At its fourth meeting, the COP-MOP in decision BS-IV/4 adopted a number of measures for improving the quality, effectiveness and level of use of the roster of biosafety experts. These included a set of criteria and minimum requirements for experts to be nominated to the roster, updated guidelines for the roster, as well as a revised nomination form. Parties and other Governments were requested to make fresh nominations in accordance with the new criteria and minimum requirements and the Executive Secretary was requested to remove all existing records in the roster within three months and refill the roster with the new nominations. The Parties also decided to revitalize the pilot phase of the Voluntary Fund for the Roster.
At its fifth meeting, the COP-MOP considered the report on the status of the Roster of Experts and the Voluntary Fund for the Roster. In decision BS-V/4 it urged Parties and other Governments that had not yet done so to nominate experts to the roster, taking into account the need for gender balance and for balanced coverage of the different areas of expertise in the roster. It also urged Parties and other Governments to facilitate the release of their experts on the roster, and in a timely and flexible manner, when they are selected to undertake assignments by other Parties.
The Roster is accessible and searchable through the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH).