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Biosafety Clearing-House NewsNeeds assessment survey Report: UNEP - GEF Project for Sustainable Capacity Building for Effective Participation in the Biosafety Clearing House (BCH III project)
Over the period from July 1st to August 3rd, 2020, the UNEP-GEF BCH III project in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) executed a needs assessment survey to collect information and perspectives from parties to the CPB on: (i) Countries’ relevant BCH and Biosafety capacity building needs, (ii) Implementation of BCH and Biosafety measures in general at national, regional and global levels, (iii) Measures that can be instituted to enhance the general knowledge, awareness, participation and sustainability of the BCH and Biosafety over the longer term at national, regional and global levels.

The needs assessment survey was designed to collect both qualitative and quantitative data to identify gaps, capacity building needs and suggested interventions relevant to the BCH specifically and Biosafety in general. While it primarily involved multiple choice questions, it also included sections for parties to express their views in writing. Aiming to ensure broad participation from relevant Biosafety stakeholders that are knowledgeable of the current national and global biosafety situation, a notification was issued by the SCBD. This notification addressed Parties’ CPB and BCH National Focal Points (NFPs), inviting them and other appropriate persons identified by them, to participate in the survey. Additionally, the BCH III project sent a written communication to its Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)1 contact list that includes 1,673 international recipients who previously participated in the project’s capacity building activities.
Guinea-BissauGuinea-Bissau - clôture du projet BCHIII
La Guinée-Bissau a déjà terminé tous les ateliers de formation du projet BCHIII en juillet 2019 à Bissau sous la supervision des consultants régionaux. More...
BhutanBhutan - Training on national BCH and other biosafety information repository tools
Training on ‘National BCH and other biosafety information repository tools’ was held in Paro from 3-5 March 2020. The training was organized by Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, with the financial and technical support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) involving BCH expert Prof. Ruel V Maningas. The training was attended by forty four officials from BAFRA field offices, Biosafety Technical Working Group and participants from National Environment Commission, Food Corporation of Bhutan, Karma Feed and National Seed Centre. More...
GambiaGambia - Training on Hermes Instance to establish and Launch a National Biosafety Clearing House for The Gambia
Under the BCH 3 Project, a one-day training for IT officers in the Department of Parks of The Gambia was conducted on 5th March 2020 . Training on using the Control Management System of the Hermes for creating and editing pages on the national website mw.biosafetyclearinghouse.net and using Hermes syntaxes, Xhtml language and JavaScript for further populating and customizing pages was conducted. The training was attended by 4 participants.
GambiaGambia - The Gambia second training on the BCH Under the BCH 3 Project
The Gambia conducted its second stakeholders training on BCH under BCHIII project from 3rd to 4th March 2020. The training was attended by 12 participants drawn from the National Competent Authority (NCA) and other relevant institutions who are primary users of the BCH. The training was aimed at enhancing national capacity on how to use the BCH to effectively implement the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
Among others the following topics were covered:
• Genetic engineering concepts and terminologies
• Overview of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
 Interactive module on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
• Introduction to the Biosafety Clearing House
• introduction to the BCH central Portal
• finding information on the BCH
• the Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress
• Country Status for Cartagena Protocol and the BCH
• Registering information on the BCH Central Portal
• Introduction to the BCH management Centre Authorized users
• Introduction to the BCH training materials
Biosafety Clearing-House NewsSustaining biosafety in CARICOM
Over the period 20 – 22 January 2020, a series of meetings was held in Trinidad and Tobago to examine the issue of the sustainability of biosafety in the CARICOM region.

At the first meeting, which held from 20 – 21 January 2020, representatives from the University of the West Indies (UWI), Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) and UN Environment (UNE) met to develop an action plan to chart the way forward for biosafety management at a regional level.  Deliberations were based on the recommendations outlined in the report of the terminal evaluation of the UNEP-GEF Regional Project for Implementing National Biosafety Frameworks in the Caribbean Sub-Region, conducted in January 2019.

In light of the initiative to develop a strategic outlook for biosafety in the Caribbean Region to enhance the sustainability of the outputs achieved under the implementation project, a meeting of regional biosafety stakeholders was convened on 22 January 2020.  Participants came from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.  Also present, in addition to UWI, UNEP and CAHFSA, were representatives from regional and international organisations such as CARICOM, CARPHA, OECS, CARDI and IICA. Presentations examined the outlook from the national, regional and international perspectives, and a workshop session was conducted in which participants were tasked with arriving at common positions on how existing gaps to biosafety management can be addressed, as well as outline a regional implementation framework for biosafety.   

It is hoped that the discussions held over the 3-day period will serve as a means of keeping biosafety relevant, and that the necessary steps will be taken at both nationally and regionally to ensure full implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in the Caribbean region.
MaliMali - RAPPORT DU PREMIER ATELIER NATIONAL DE FORMATION SUR L’UTILISATION DU PORTAIL CENTRAL DU CENTRE D’ECHANGE SUR LA PREVENTION DES RISQUES BIOTECHNIQUES (BCH –
Le présent rapport est le résumé du déroulement du premier atelier national sur l'utilisation du portail centre sur la prévention des risques biotechnologiques.Les utilisateurs nationaux ont été  formés sur le Protocole de Cartagena et  le site BCH et son fonctionnement comment trouver de informations sur le site et comme enregistrer.Quand on est désigné correspondant national autorisé  quel est ton rôle et quand on utilisateur national ton rôle est quoi et tes informations toujours être soumises à l'appréciation du CNA ou point Focal. More...
Biosafety Clearing-House NewsReview: Draft Aarhus Convention/CBD Pocket Guide on Access to Information and Public Participation regarding LMOs
The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity has contributed, together with the Secretariat of the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) to the development of a draft pocket guide. The pocket guide aims to assist Governments to develop and implement legislation and procedures for effective access to information and public participation regarding LMOs and aims at furthering Programme Element 3 of the priority activities and areas of the programme of work on public awareness, education and participation concerning the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (decision CP-VIII/18, Annex).

The draft pocket guide was presented for discussion to the third joint Aarhus Convention/Convention on Biological Diversity Roundtable on Public Awareness, Access to Information and Public Participation regarding Living Modified Organisms/Genetically Modified Organism, held 16-18 December 2019, Geneva, Switzerland. Participants to the round table meeting welcomed the draft pocket guide and provided comments. The draft pocket guide is now available for further review and can be accessed through the following link: https://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/pp/gmo/GMO_Round_table_2019/Pocket_Guide_draft_29_November_draft_not_for_citation.pdf.

Parties and observers are invited to submit their comments as soon as possible, but not later than 1 February 2020. Comments are to be submitted to: BCH@cbd.int
KazakhstanKazakhstan - The 3-rd National workshop "Using the information available on the Biosafety clearing-House Central portal" within the UNEP-GEF project for sustainable capacity-building for effective participation in the BCH
The 3-rd national workshop "Using the information available on the BCH Central portal " within the UNEP-GEF project for sustainable capacity building for effective participation in the BCH was held from 21 to 22 November 2019 at the RSE "National center for biotechnology" of the Committee of science of the Ministry of education and science of the Republic of Kazakhstan (hereinafter – NCB), Nur-Sultan.
The workshop was attended by representatives of key stakeholders, government agencies, importers, producers, distributors, universities, national laboratories and reference centers engaged in monitoring and research of GMOs, research institutes and agricultural organizations, large food companies, non-governmental organizations and the media. Participants familiarized themselves with the technical responsibilities of the BCH and gained a clear understanding of the standard formats of BCH documentation, as well as with the technical aspects of the creation and registration of BCH information materials.
The main objective of the National workshop is to improve the procedures and mechanisms necessary to achieve sustainability of effective participation in BCH and establish effective mechanisms and working links for the collection of information to be transmitted to BCH in accordance with the national Biosafety policy.
Workshop focused on practical training in groups in order to solve various tasks for finding information on the BCH Central portal, registration of records, etc.
KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan - First national theoretical and practical workshop on BCH III in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
The First national theoretical and practical workshop for key stakeholders to establish procedures and mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of effective participation in the Biosafety Clearing-House as part of the UNEP-GEF project on BCH III was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic from November 19th  to 20th , 2019.
      Representatives of ministries and departments of the Kyrgyz Republic, civil society and other stakeholders participated in the workshop.
      UNEP experts presented the participants the basic provisions of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, shared information on BCH, as well as on its operation and conducted practical exercises for participants to review provided material. The workshop participants also had the opportunity to exchange views and ask experts questions.