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About this Forum

Overview

In its decision BS-VIII/12, the COP-MOP acknowledged the work of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Risk Assessment and Risk Management, having completed its mandate, as well as the Online Forum on Risk Assessment and Risk Management and took note of the voluntary Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms as the outcome of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group with input from the Online Forum.

In the same decision, the COP-MOP also invited interested Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to take the Guidance into account as a voluntary tool to assist in conducting risk assessment in accordance with the Cartagena Protocol while acknowledging that other guidance documents and national approaches can also assist in conducting risk assessment in accordance with the Protocol.

Furthermore, the COP-MOP invited Parties to submit to the Executive Secretary:
  1. information on their needs and priorities for further guidance on specific topics of risk assessment of living modified organisms;
  2. proposals on criteria, including the technical justification, that may facilitate the selection of topics for the development of further guidance; and,
  3. views on perceived gaps in existing guidance materials.

and decided to extend the Online Forum on Risk Assessment and Risk Management to exchange experiences on risk assessment, provide information and views on, and perceived gaps in existing guidance materials, and proposals to address any gaps identified.

Moreover, the COP-MOP requested the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to review the information provided and to recommend a way forward to address the needs, priorities and gaps identified by Parties for consideration by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol at its ninth meeting, including the possible establishment of a new ad hoc technical expert group, with the understanding that new guidance proposals should only be presented upon approval by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol.

In light of these requests, a tentative calendar of activities outlining a way forward for the implementation of the elements of the COP-MOP decision will be available in due course.

Posting and receiving messages

  • To share comments with the forum, please sign-in to the BCH with your registered BCH email address, click on the title of the message you wish to reply to, and then click the reply button at the bottom of the message;
  • All messages posted to the forum will also be sent via email to the address registered on the BCH profile of all participants;
  • Participants may also reply via email by using the address provided at the bottom of the email message you received from the forum. Alternatively, you may follow the link "See this post in the online forum" and click on the "Reply" button at the end of a posting;
  • To stop receiving future postings by e-mail, you may click on the “Stop Watching” button.

Background

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 establishing a new AHTEG on Risk Assessment and Risk Management. The online forum and AHTEG provided input to assist the Executive Secretary with structuring and focusing the process of testing the guidance, and in the analysis of the results gathered from the testing; co-ordinated, in collaboration with the Secretariat, the development of a package that aligns the Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms with the “Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms” training manual in a coherent and complementary manner; and considered the development of guidance on new topics of risk assessment and risk management.

At their seventh meeting, the Parties welcomed the results of the testing of the Guidance and invited Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to test or use, as appropriate, the Guidance in actual cases of risk assessment and as a tool for capacity-building activities in risk assessment. In their decision BS-VII/12, the COP-MOP also decided to extend the Online Forum and AHTEG on Risk Assessment and Risk Management as well as expanding the composition of the AHTEG to add one new member from each region. The expanded AHTEG 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, to revise and improve the Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms, taking into account the results of the testing process, established in decision BS-VI/12.

In its decision BS-VIII/12, the COP-MOP acknowledged the work of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Risk Assessment and Risk Management, having completed its mandate, as well as the Online Forum on Risk Assessment and Risk Management and took note of the voluntary Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms as the outcome of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group with input from the Online Forum. In the same decision, the COP-MOP also invited interested Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to take the Guidance into account as a voluntary tool to assist in conducting risk assessment in accordance with the Cartagena Protocol while acknowledging that other guidance documents and national approaches can also assist in conducting risk assessment in accordance with the Protocol. Furthermore, the COP-MOP decided to extend the Online Forum on Risk Assessment and Risk Management to exchange experiences on risk assessment, provide information and views on, and perceived gaps in existing guidance materials, and proposals to address any gaps identified.

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 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.

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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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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 riskassessment.forum@cbd.int.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 riskassessment.forum@cbd.int.

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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 riskassessment.forum@cbd.int.

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