The reason for this workshop is to facilitate mechanisms for countries to establish a national Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) website and look at ways of sustaining it beyond 2020 when the project will lapse.
This is according to Mr Samuela Fonua who is the Pacific region’s Biosafety advisor.
Speaking to Island Sun yesterday, the final day of the two day workshop which began on May 30th, he stressed that one of the reasons Solomon Islands should establish a national BCH website is so that information on the site can be shared locally.
Mr Fonua explained that parties can either develop their national BCH sites through two options which are to either establish it under the provision provided by the Secretariat or to develop it on their own.However, he mentioned that there are gaps which have to be in some way addressed if Solomon Islands is to establish it’s BCH site.
Mr Fonua stressed that these gaps relate to the identification of LMOs in the country or things that contain LMOs as far as to how Solomon Islands can deal with it internally.
He pointed out that there is no process in place to grasp these scenarios hence is one challenge the country must consider in it’s efforts of establishing the site.
Mr Fonua facilitated the BCH Phase 3 workshop which is an UN Environment project funded by Global Environmental Facility and set to conclude by 2020.
The Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) is a mechanism of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to accommodate exchange of information on LMOs (Living Modified Organisms) and assist parties to better fulfill their obligations under the Protocol.
Also under the Cartagena Protocol, there is the Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) which parties who ratified and signed the protocol are obliged to actively participate in.
This is according to the Pacific Region’s only Biosafety Expert from Tonga, Mr Samiuela Fonua who facilitated the country’s first national Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) workshop at Kairos conference room yesterday.
The workshop is a United Nations Environment project funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).
Speaking of BCH, he said it is a website that all parties of the Protocol have agreed to house all the information relating to the use of genetic modified organisms, Living Modified Organisms (LMO) and the managing and control of transboundary movement of LMOs.
Mr Fonua stressed that BCH promotes and facilitates technical and scientific cooperation within and between countries under the agreement.
He emphasized that BCH develops a global mechanism for the exchange and integration of information on biodiversity and helps develop the necessary human and technological network.
Mr Fonua expressed that the benefits of the BCH include the access of information about capacity building and other assistance available to support implementation of the protocol and to ensure that the relevant authorities in other countries can quickly find out who to inform in the event of an accidental movement of LMOs into their territory.
On the other hand, he stated that countries under the protocol also have the obligation to provide information through BCH should they modify their regulatory framework.
Mr Fonua pointed out such information includes that of a party’s entry into a bilateral, regional or multilateral agreement or arrangement regarding the transboundary movement of living modified organisms (LMOS) or if the party adopts or amends laws, regulations or guidelines relevant to LMOs.
He mentioned that information that can be found in BCH include national laws, regulations and guidelines, national contacts, decisions and declarations and summaries of risk assessments.