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Development of the Biosafety Clearing-House

Years: 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009


September 2009: Release of new versions of the BCH Management Centre, Common Formats and FAQs. A new version of the BCH Management Centre is now available to all registered BCH users. New Common formats for the submission of information, as approved by the Fourth Meeting of the BCH-IAC (November 2008), have been made available in both their offline and online formats. New Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have also been made available (for more information on this release see BCH News 10 September 2009).

January 2009: Release of the Real-time Online Conferences BCH tool. Following a request from COP-MOP decision BS-IV/11, the Secretariat developed a tool to convene ad hoc online discussions and made it available to Parties trough the BCH and its Hermes-based national nodes. The Real-time Online Conferences BCH tool was launched within the Open-ended Online Expert Forum on Risk Assessment and Risk Management and Four regional conferences were conducted in this innovative way in February 2009.

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September 2008: Update of the BCH help system: The BCH help system has been extensively updated and is directly accessible by the Help section of the navigation bar. A complete set of training materials on the BCH and the Cartagena Protocol, developed by the UNEP-GEF BCH Project, is now available. Comprehensive, context-sensitive Help information is also available from individual BCH pages

April 2008: Translation of the BCH into the 6 official UN languages and a new Help section: The BCH is now accessible in all six of the official languages of the United Nations (i.e. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish). The translation has been completed for all public pages of the BCH’s Central Portal. The pages of the BCH Management Centre, only accessible to BCH account-holders to create and manage information, are also expected to be translated, following the revamping of this last section, by the end of 2008.

Thanks to the UNEP-GEF BCH Project a new Help section of the BCH is now available to help facilitate the use of the BCH. This integrated new Help section has also been fully translated into the six official languages of the United Nations.

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November 2007: Release of a revamped version of the BCH (Notification 2007-136): (i) New URL: http://bch.cbd.int. (ii) User friendliness: new layout in sync with the CBD website; primary search interfaces reduced and merged in the ‘Finding Information’ section; optional advanced search functions integrated into primary search interface; grouping options enhanced; country profiles updated; enhanced access to country decisions and risk assessments documents from LMO records. (iii) Data Quality control: LMO registry revised with updated list of Unique Identifiers; purely scientific records from the Biosafety Information Resource Centre (BIRC) relocated to a scientific database; significant increase of "grey literature" registered in the BIRC (from 242 to over 700). (iv) Multilanguage enhancement: added functionality to multiple languages support for interoperability tools Hermes, Ajax and the Central Portal.

March 2007: Release of New BCH Features (Notification 2007-040): Improvements to the BCH included (i) Information resource pages; (ii) Simplification of the Management Centre; (iii) Expanded registration options for general users; (iv) Development of additional tools to improve accessibility of information; and (v) Increased documentation for change to the BCH and its exchange mechanisms.

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December 2006: Release of the Offline version of the BCH (Notification 2006-124): A CD-ROM includes all records that are contained in the BCH databases including the search functions required to access those records.

December 2006: Release of New BCH Features (Notification 2006-131): Improvements to the BCH included (i) A new background saving feature; (ii) An improved publishing mechanism; (iii) An ability for users to link decision and risk assessment records to the BCH LMO Registry; (iv) A safer un-publishing mechanism; and (v) A more flexible way of displaying search results.

October 2006: Release of New BCH Features (Notification 2006-101): Improvements to the BCH included (i) A new section on information-sharing; (ii) A new facility to undertake ‘global’ decision searching; (iii) Expanded help features; (iv) A new section on reporting; (v) New search features; and (vi) Updated common formats for reporting information to the BCH.

September 2006: Release of Directory of Biosafety Organizations (Notification 2006-094): The Directory includes a database that profiles the nature of work undertaken by each institution, focusing on its relevance to biosafety, and provides detailed contact information as well as links to relevant records in the BCH.

July 2006: Release of New Organisms Database (Notification 2006-081): Launch of a central registry in the BCH of all LMOs for which decisions have been taken. The registry provides summary information on the transformation event, gene insert and characteristics of the modification, and its unique identification code (if available) for approved LMOs. Links to all decisions that refer to one of these organisms are provided at the bottom of each LMO record accessible through the registry.

January 2006: Release of New BCH Features (Notification 2006-005): Improvements to the BCH included (i) A new “virtual notebook” function; (ii) Addition of a “country profile” section; (iii) The ability to export search results and records in xml; (iv) Search results that link the primary record of interest to related records that reference it; and (v) Addition of several news services to complement the existing Current Awareness Service.

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May 2005: Release of New BCH Features (Notification 2005-061): Improvements to the BCH included (i) A new “Biosafety information resource centre”; (ii) Addition of a “virtual mailbox”; (iii) Improved management of records with information in multiple languages; (iv) Streamlined design of data entry pages, and simpler editing functions; (v) New features for BCH National Focal Points and group users; and (vi) A new BCH training site.

April 2005: Release of Biosafety Capacity-Building Network (Notification 2005-037): An interactive collaborative portal for members of the Biosafety Capacity-Building Network to facilitate interaction and the sharing of knowledge, views, experiences and lessons learned among participating members.

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July 2004: Release of Automatic News and Summaries for the BCH (Notification 2004-059): Subscriptions to and submissions to the BCH Current Awareness Service in order to receive regular updates summarizing new information that has been added to the BCH.

April 2004: Release of the Operational Phase of the BCH (Notification 2004-021): Improvements to the BCH included (i) Improved search facilities; (ii) Redesigned presentation of content and improved “help” facilities; and (iii) Dynamic links to the BCH news, the list of Parties to the Protocol, and new information on the Biosafety Protocol website.

January 2004: release of Online Discussion Forums (Notification 2004-002): The discussions are broadly divided into general and technical subjects. The topics available as a starting point are: Getting Started, User Support, Feature Requests, Capacity-Building, Interoperability and the Simple National BCH.

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November 2003: release of two new capacity-building tools for the BCH (Notification 2003-121): (1) Development of a preliminary version of a “simple National Biosafety Clearing-House Application (nBCH)” with the following goals; (i) Off-line BCH data entry; (ii) Data transfer to the Central Portal of the BCH; and (iii) Reference tool for systems developers; (2) Offline version of the Central Portal of the BCH on CD-ROM.

November 2003: release of Version 2.0 of the Pilot Phase of the BCH (Notification 2003-014): Improvements included (i) Improved searching facilities and faster download times; (ii) Expansion of the capacity-building project and initiatives databases; (iii) Further development of the tool kit and other help functions; (iv) Improvements to the BCH Management Centre; (v) Inclusion of a registry for unique identification of LMOs; (vi) Access to (and interoperability with) more external databases; and (vii) Documents, such as common formats for reporting information, provided in multiple formats (e.g. HTML, Word documents, PDF files).

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