In their decision BS-IV/11
, the Parties to the Protocol established: (i) an open-ended online forum through the Biosafety Clearing-House (hereinafter “Open-ended Online Forum”); and (ii) an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Risk Assessment and Risk Management with the objective to develop further guidance on specific aspects of risk assessment and risk management.
At their fifth meeting, the Parties welcomed the document "Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms" (hereinafter “the Guidance”) developed through the joint efforts of the two groups and called for its first version, in their decision BS-V/12
, to be further scientifically reviewed and tested to establish its overall utility and applicability to living modified organisms of different taxa introduced into different environments.
In their decision BS-VI/12
, the Parties commended the progress made on the resulting Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms and decided to extend the Open-ended Online Forum while bringing to a close the current AHTEG. The Parties further decided to establish a new AHTEG on Risk Assessment and Risk Management, that will work following the input provided by the Open-Ended Online Forum, in accordance with the terms of reference and modalities of work in the Annex to the decision, and specified below:
- Provide input, inter alia, to assist the Executive Secretary in his task to structure and focus the process of testing the guidance, and in the analysis of the results gathered from the testing;
- Coordinate, in collaboration with the Secretariat, the development of a package that aligns the Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms (e.g. the Roadmap) with the training manual “Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms” in a coherent and complementary manner, for further consideration of the Parties, with the clear understanding that the Guidance is still being tested;
- Consider the development of guidance on new topics of risk assessment and risk management, selected on the basis of the Parties’ needs and their experiences and knowledge concerning risk assessment.
What is the forum?
This is a virtual platform where experts will interact and exchange opinions on specific aspects of risk assessment and risk management of living modified organisms (LMOs). The online forum is part of a continuous process established in decision BS-IV/11
and has been used as a tool for experts in risk assessment and risk management to meet and discuss the issues mandated by the Parties as per decisions BS-IV/11
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Who can participate?
The online forum will be publicly accessible through the BCH, but posting will be restricted to registered participants. Experts who are actively involved in risk assessment and risk management are invited to participate in this process. There is no limit to the number of participants per country or organization taking part in the online forum. Nomination of Experts is ongoing and can be carried out as indicated below:
- National Experts that are not currently registered as participants to please fill in the Biosafety Expert Nomination form and forward it to your BCH Focal point for them to submit your nomination to the Secretariat.
- National Experts that are currently registered as participants on the Open-ended On-line Forum to update and revise their profiles and contact information. Please consult the List of Participants page and follow the appropriate links to edit your profile. If you have been nominated, but your name does not appear in the List of Participants, please send an email to the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- National Biosafety Focal Points to ensure that experts that are currently registered as participants update their profiles and further nominate experts from your country, who are actively involved in scientific disciplines relevant to risk assessment and/or risk management, to participate in the Open-Ended Online Forum. To nominate new National Experts, use the Biosafety Expert Nomination form.
- Observers are continually requested to submit new nominations and can do so by completing the Observer Nomination form.
In case of problems with your internet connection, the nomination of experts may be done by filling out the offline common format
and submitting it to the Secretariat by email at email@example.com
Members of the AHTEG will be selected by the Secretariat, in consultation with the COP-MOP Bureau, from among those experts nominated by Parties on the basis of their expertise, and their active participation in the Open-ended Online Forum, taking into account geographic distribution, gender balance and with a view to achieving a balance between past and new members. The selection will, also, be in accordance with paragraph 18 of the consolidated modus operandi of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity (decision VIII/10, annex III).
A limited number of observers were also selected by the Secretariat, in consultation with the Bureau, to take part in the AHTEG meetings as observers.
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How does it work?
There are currently two possible modalities of online events that take place under this Forum:
- In the Discussion Groups, participants are able to share their opinions on specific themes through written postings and shared documents. Several Discussion Groups may run in parallel for a defined period of time (approx. 2-4 weeks). After the discussions are posted, all contributions remain publicly available for reading.
- In the Real-time Online Conferences are also convened for each geographical sub-region. These conferences are chaired by a participant from each region. Each Real-time Online Conference runs for approximately 4 hours (including a 30-minute break) on specific dates. During the Real-time Online Conferences, registered participants, connected to an online “chat” through the BCH, will be able to exchange ideas and discuss the different topics by posting and reading written interventions.
Documentation used for discussions in the online forum should be made available through the Biosafety Information Resource Centre
For further information on this forum please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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