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Survey on online BCH forums (11/2008 - 2/2009)


The Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety have, on more than one occasion, requested that the Secretariat makes use of information-sharing mechanisms such as discussion forums and online conference facilities through the BCH to facilitate a broad exchange of views on experience with Living Modified Organisms (LMOs).

From November 2008 to February 2009 two online forums were held through the BCH:
  • The Online Forum on Capacity-Building hosted in 8 weeks eight different discussion groups. A total of 117 participants took part to this forum with 90 interventions.
  • The Open-ended Online Expert Forum on Risk Assessment and Risk Management hosted in 3 months eight different discussion groups and four real-time regional conferences for Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. Currently 190 experts are registered in the Forum. Eighteen National experts nominated by Parties or other Governments and 13 observers participated to the discussion groups with 88 interventions. Forty-nine national experts from 32 Governments and 12 observers participated in the regional real-time conferences with more than 900 interventions.




In March 2009 an appreciation survey was conducted among the participants to the two forums and what follows is a synthesis of the main results of the survey. The Secretariat wishes to thank all the participants to the survey for their helpful cooperation.

*Note: The Ranking is calculated on the basis of an arbitrary scale as follows: Poor (0-25%), Fair (25-50%), Good (50-75%) and Very Good (75-100%).

Total number of respondents: 50 (17% of the forums' participants)

Access to the online event(s):

1. Which online event did you participate in? Respondents %
- On line Forum on Capacity Building / Conference on Risk Assessment 17 34%
- On line Forum on Capacity Building / Conference on Biosafety Mainstreaming 10 20%
- Open-ended Online Expert Forum on Risk Assessment and Risk Management / Discussion groups 20 40%
- Open-ended Online Expert Forum on Risk Assessment and Risk Management / Real-time Conference 34 68%
 
2. How would you rate the information you received prior to the on line event(s) you participated in? Respondents Ranking*
- Very good 22
- Good 24 Good
- Fair 2 (73%)
- Poor 0
 
3. Did you experience any problem(s) in the registration process? Respondents %
- Yes 15 30%
- No 35 70%
 
4. If yes, which problem(s)?
Main problems indicated included: Poor internet connectivity - Password problems - Lack of clear indications on the website - Multiple BCH accounts - Difficulties in filling the Expert form requested by MOP.

Discussion groups:

5. How would you rate the following: Respondents Ranking*
a. The usefulness of the ‘Introduction’ to each topic?
- Very good 14
- Good 25 Good
- Fair 3 (69%)
- Poor 0
 
b. The usefulness of the ‘Questions’ or the ‘Suggested points for discussion’?
- Very good 15
- Good 22 Good
- Fair 5 (68%)
- Poor 0
 
c. The usefulness of the ‘Selected readings’?
- Very good 8
- Good 25 Good
- Fair 6 (64%)
- Poor 0
 
d. The ease of accessing the different topics in the discussion groups?
- Very good 14
- Good 24 Good
- Fair 1 (71%)
- Poor 0
 
e. The ease of accessing the different topics in the discussion groups?
- Very good 10
- Good 28 Good
- Fair 2 (66%)
- Poor 1
 
f. The ease of creating new threads in the discussion groups?
- Very good 9
- Good 23 Good
- Fair 5 (64%)
- Poor 1
 
g. The ease of replying to the postings of other participants in the discussion groups?
- Very good 14
- Good 21 Good
- Fair 5 (67%)
- Poor 1
 
h. The overall user-friendliness of the online discussion groups?
- Very good 12
- Good 24 Good
- Fair 2 (68%)
- Poor 1
 
6. Did you prefer reading and/or submitting postings through the Web or via email? Respondents %
- Web 28 64%
- E-mail 16 36%

Real-time Conferences

7. Did you experience any problems accessing the real-time online conference? Respondents %
- Yes 9 23%
- No 30 77%
 
8. If yes, could you please provide the following information? Respondents %
 
a. Which operating system were you using?
- Vista 4 15%
- Windows XP 17 65%
- Windows NT 1 4%
- Other Windows OS 0 -
- Mac OS X 4 15%
- Unix / Linux 0 -
- Other 0 -
 
b. Which Internet browser were you using?
- Internet Explorer 14 45%
- Mozilla / Firefox 12 39%
- Apple Safari 2 6%
- Google Chrome 2 6%
- Other 1 3%
 
c. Was Silverlight already installed on your computer?
- Yes 13 39%
- No 16 48%
- I don’t know 4 12%
 
d. Please provide the details of the problem you experienced.
Main problems indicated included: Poor network, internet connectivity or technical problems on the client side - Password problems - Silverlight installation - Different time zones.
 
9. How would you rate the following: Respondents Ranking*
 
a. The ease of reading the interventions of other participants in the real-time conference?
- Very good 20
- Good 16 Good
- Fair 3 (73%)
- Poor 0
 
b. The ease of posting your interventions in the real-time conference?
- Very good 18
- Good 13 Good
- Fair 4 (69%)

- Poor 2
 
c. The overall user-friendliness of the real-time conference platform?
- Very good 20
- Good 15 Good
- Fair 3 (74%)
- Poor 0
 
10. Did you use the ‘Help Desk’? Respondents %
- Yes 8 20%
- No 32 80%
 
11. If yes, how would you rate the ‘Help Desk’ function? Respondents Ranking*
- Very good 4
- Good 5 Good
- Fair 0 (74%)
- Poor 0

Additional comments

Main additional comments included: Praises for the ease of using the system - Praises for the useful opportunity offered by the events - Complaints about difficulties in the registration process - Requests for extending the period of online discussions - Requests for similar events in the future - Considerations about the time needed for preparing to the online events - Suggestions for more focused topics in future conferences - Requests for more guidance (questions) in future similar events - Requests for technical guidance in the use of the real-time platform - Requests for making the real-time platform available to national and regional biosafety needs.

   
   
Update on 2009-03-30
United Nations Environment Programme United Nations