FAQs | Biosafety Clearing-House
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BCH Knowledge base

Frequently asked questions (36)

What are LMO Quick-links?

LMO Quick-link is a small image file, shown at the top of an LMO record, that identifies an LMO through its unique identifier, trade name and provides a link to where information on the LMO is available on the BCH (e.g. LMO characteristics, countries' decisions, risk assessments, etc.). In using the LMO Quick-link, the BCH page can be easily accessed by either scanning the QR code or by typing the URL in a web browser.

For each LMO registered in the BCH, QR code is automatically generated and made available in order to allow easier reference and use in official trade documents.

QR codes are readable by smartphones, including iPhone and Android phones.

What is the meaning of the different icons used in the BCH?

General Icons

IconLocationMeaning
This “Alerts” icon is located at the top right corner of the page.The bell icon is a notification system that alerts users of all unread messages associated with their BCH account. The number in the red circle indicates the number of ‘unread’ notifications received. Click on this icon to see all the messages and click on a particular message to see its details.
The ‘language’ drop-down list is located at the top right corner of the page.Click on this icon to select one of the 6 UN languages. This will change the language of the BCH. 
This icon is located at the top right corner of the page.Click on this icon to access contextual help articles associated with the specific page of the BCH you are currently navigating. Click on the title of the article to view the full text. You can also search for all help articles in the BCH. 
The “Information” icon appears on the Dashboard of the Submit page, as well as on the Search page.Hover over this icon to reveal descriptive information about the respective item on the screen.
The ‘down arrow’ icon appears in several places on the Dashboard.

 

Click on this icon to expand the view.  When expanded for a record type, it shows the 10 latest records created in the BCH.

The ‘plus’ icon appears on the Dashboard next to a record type (middle icon).Click on this icon to open the online form where you can start creating a new record.
The ‘list’ icon appears next to a record type on the Dashboard.

 

Click on this icon to open a summary page where you can view a list of all the associated records and their status for the respective record type.

 

The ‘list’ icon also appears on the User Management page.Click on this icon to modify the role of a National Authorized User (NAU). 
This icon appears on the summary of records page that is accessible through the Dashboard.Click on this icon to create a duplicate of a record.
This icon appears on the summary of records page that is accessible through the Dashboard.Click on this icon to edit a record.
The ‘trash bin’ icon appears on the summary of records page that is accessible through the Dashboard.Click on this icon to delete a record.
The blue Question Mark icon appears on the “Submission form” next to certain fields.Click on this help icon to view a short video demonstrating how to enter information in that field.
The “Close” icon appears on the Search page at the top right corner when one of the Global Filters is selected.Click on this icon to close the view of the filters selected and to see the results of your search.
This “Chat” icon appears at the bottom right corner.Click on this icon to chat with the Secretariat and ask for more information. We will respond as soon as possible.

LMO Icons

IconLocationMeaning
This icon appears in the results of queries involving decisions and risk assessments on LMOs.

 

This icon indicates that the decision or risk assessment refers to an LMO for Intentional introduction into the environment.

 

This icon also appears in the results of queries for Competent National Authority and Law records.This icon refers to the type of organism: Plants.
This icon appears in the results of queries involving decisions and risk assessments on LMOs. This icon indicates that the decision or risk assessment refers to an LMO for Direct use as food.

 

This icon appears in the results of queries involving decisions and risk assessments on LMOs.

 

 

This icon indicates that the decision or risk assessment refers to an LMO for Direct use as feed.

 

This icon also appears in the results of queries for Competent National Authority and Law records. This icon refers to the type of organism: Animals.

 

This icon appears in the results of queries involving decisions and risk assessments on LMOs.

 

 

This icon indicates that the decision or risk assessment refers to an LMO for Pharmaceutical use.

 

This icon also appears In the results of queries for LMO records. This icon refers to the modified trait: Production of medical or pharmaceutical compounds (human or animal).
This icon appears in the results of queries involving decisions and risk assessments on LMOs.This icon indicates that the decision or risk assessment refers to an LMO for Processing.
This icon appears in the results of queries involving decisions and risk assessments on LMOs.This icon indicates that the decision or risk assessment refers to an LMO for Contained Use.
This icon appears in the results of queries involving decisions and risk assessments on LMOs.This icon indicates that the decision or risk assessment refers to an LMO for Transit.
This icon appears in the results of queries for LMO records - in "Decisions on the LMO". This icon indicates that the decision was “approved with conditions”.
This icon appears in the results of queries for Competent National Authority and Law records.This icon indicates the type of organism: Bacteria.
This icon appears in the results of queries for Competent National Authority and Law records.This icon indicates the type of organism: Fungi.
This icon appears in the results of queries for Competent National Authority and Law records.This icon indicates the type of organism: Viruses.
This icon appears in the results of queries for LMO records. This icon indicates the modified trait: Changes in physiology and/or production.
This icon appears in the results of queries for LMO records.
This icon indicates the modified trait: Changes in quality and/or metabolite content.
This icon appears in the results of queries for LMO records.This icon indicates the modified trait: Resistance to diseases and pests.
This icon appears in the results of queries for LMO records.This icon indicates the modified trait: Tolerance to herbicides.
This icon appears in results of queries for decisions.This icon indicates that the decision prohibits the LMO for a specific type of use which is indicated by the icon inside the circle.
This icon appears in the results of queries for several records.This icon indicates Other.
How can I receive notifications when certain records are published?

Account holders can subscribe to receive automatic notifications/updates when records in certain categories, selected by the users, are published in the Clearing-House. 

Users can do so by using the Preferences tab accessible through the Submit interface. The Preferences tab functions exactly the same way as “My saved searches” feature (in Search). It allows users to store search filter selections to their user profile and receive immediate e-mail notifications when new records that match the specified criteria are published. For example, users may wish to be notified every time a decision or a risk assessment record is published by specific countries or regions.

Important Note: At the moment, e-mail notifications only respond to the Global filters that are saved. That means that when new records are published, the e-mail notification will be executed based on the specified Global filters only. Sub-filters, if selected, will not be included in the query (this is temporary).


To SET UP your e-mail notification preferences:

  1. On the Submit page, click on the Preferences tab.
  2. Click on the Add new button.
  3. In the window that opens:

- Type the title of you search.

- In Search, select the global filters of interest.

- Check the“ Send me an email when records relevant to this search are added or updated”

        4. Click on the Save button.


To EDIT your e-mail notification preferences:

  1. Click on the Edit icon/button of the respective search.
  2. In the window that opens: edit your selections (title, filters, receipt of e-mail notifications when records relevant to this search are added or updated).
  3. Click on the Save button.

NOTE: to stop receiving updates  by e-mail, you can also simply deselect Email me check box. To delete the saved ‘preferences’, click on the Delete icon/button.


TIP: If you have already used “My saved searches” feature on the Search page, your saved searches will automatically be displayed in the Preferences tab. Both, the Preferences tab and “My saved searches”, function exactly the same and saved searches, once defined and saved, are shown in both places automatically.

How do I save my searches?

“My saved searches” feature, available on the Search page, allows users to store search filter selections to their user preferences and receive immediate e-mail notifications when new records that match the specified criteria are published.

Important Note: At the moment, e-mail notifications only respond to the Global filters that are saved. That means that when new records are published, the e-mail notification will be executed based on the specified Global filters only. Sub-filters, if selected, will not be included in the query (this is temporary).


To SAVE your search results:

  1. Select your Global filters and then click on the Save this search button.
  2. In the window that opens, type the title of your search.
  3. Optional: check the“ Send me an email when records relevant to this search are added or updated”
  4. Click on the Save button.

Another way:

  1. On the Search page, click on “My saved searches” and then click on the Add new button. 
  2. In the window that opens:

- Type the title of you search.

- In Search, select the global filters of interest.

- Optional: check the“ Send me an email when records relevant to this search are added or updated”

        3. Click on the Save button.

NOTE: to run and quickly access your saved search, click on the Search icon/button (which you see once you click on "My saved searches”) for the respective saved search .


To EDIT your searches:

  1. On the Search page, click on “My saved searches”.
  2. Click on the Edit icon/button of the respective search.
  3. In the window that opens: edit your selections (title, filters, receipt of e-mail notifications when records relevant to this search are added or updated).
  4. Click on the Save button.

NOTE: to stop receiving updates  by e-mail, simply deselect Email me check box. To delete the saved search, click on the Delete icon/button.


TIP: If you have already used the Preferences tab on the Submit page to set up you e-mail notifications, these ‘preferences' will also be displayed in “My saved searches” section on the Search page. Both, the Preferences tab and “My saved searches”, function exactly the same and saved searches, once defined and saved, are shown in both places automatically.

Fourth National Report: Questions and Answers

This page provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the preparation and submission of Fourth National Reports.

Question 1: What is the deadline for submission of the Fourth National Report?

1 October 2019  – i.e. 12 months prior to the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (COP-MOP). Parties are urged to submit their reports in a timely manner. The Fourth National Reports are the primary source of information for the combined fourth assessment and review of the Protocol and the final evaluation of the Strategic Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety for the period 2011-2020. Late submissions will not be included in the compilation and analysis of the reports to be reviewed by the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) in May 2020. The SBI is expected to submit its findings and recommendations to the COP-MOP for consideration at its tenth meeting. 

QUESTION 2: Who is authorized to complete the Fourth National Report online through the BCH?

National Focal Points for the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH-NFPs), the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB-NFPs) and National Authorized Users (NAUs). If you are a BCH-NFP and are not sure how to designate an NAU to complete the report, please contact us at: bch@cbd.int.

Note that only BCH-NFPs can validate and publish the reports once they have been completed by CPB-NFPs or NAUs.

QUESTION 3: How is the Fourth National Report submitted?

The report is submitted online through the Dashboard of the Submit page. Log-in with the existing BCH user account is required.

To start registering/creating the report, perform the following STEPS:

STEP 1: On the Dashboard, click on the "+" sign next to the NR4 record type, OR click directly on the  record type: "Fourth National Report on the Implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (NR4)" and then click on the Add New” button on the page that opens.

STEP 2:  An Introduction page will be displayed. This page contains guidelines for the use of the reporting format.

STEP 3: Click on the Submission form tab on the top bar and  then start answering the Questions which are divided into sections by numbers.

During this process, please periodically save your answers by clicking theSave Draft” button (located on the top and bottom right side). This  action saves your report as a Draft so that you can close it and return to work on it at a later date and time. 


How can I SHARE the online DRAFT of the national report?

When you click on the “Save Draft” button, two buttons will appear on the top right corner of the online form: Share and PDF.

These buttons are also visible when you open any draft record.

  • The PDF button allows you to export the record into a PDF file that you can download and share with your colleagues.
  • The Share button (this is the recommended option) allows you to share your draft by using either of the two options: “Send by URL” and “Send by email”. 

“Share” button:

Once you click on the Share button, a pop-up box will open, and you will be presented with two options: “Send by URL” and “Send by email”. 

Perform ONE of the following:

  • In “Send by URL”, click on the Create link button. The link will be generated and displayed in the same pop-up box. Click Copy and then paste the link into your e-mail message.

Important Note: Recipients do not have to have a registered Clearing-House account to access the link and will be able to open the link without logging into the Clearing House. 

  • Click on the “Send by email” tab. Enter the e-mail address(es) of the recipient(s) you wish to receive your draft document. TIP: Use commas to separate multiple email addresses. Click Send. The link will be automatically generated and included in the e-mail message. 

Important Note: Recipients must have a registered Clearing-House account with the email address(es) that you have entered, and must log into the Clearing-House in order to view the draft record.

Additional Information:

In both case, the record you share will be viewable in ‘read’ ('viewer') mode only. The link will be active for 10 days only and any updates made will be visible to the recipients until the link expires.


STEP 4: When you are done, to PUBLISH the report - perform one of the following:

  • If you are a BCH-NFP and registered the report yourself: click on the Publish tab and then click the "Publish" button. As a result, the report will be published. Please note that, if you click on the Publish tab and you see an "error" message in the Review tab, it means that some mandatory questions (the ones with a red star next to them) have not been answered. Those questions will be summarized and displayed as errors. You need to answer all of those questions as you will not be able to publish your report until all of the mandatory questions are answered!     

           

  • If you are a CPB-NFP or NAU: click on the Publish tab and then on the "Request Publication" button, which will appear only if all of the mandatory questions have been answered. A "Publishing Request" box will appear. Write an additional message, if you wish, and click the "Send Request" button. As a result, an e-mail message will be sent automatically to the BCH-NFP with your request. The report will now have the "Pending approval" status. The BCH-NFP needs to log in and review and publish the report.

 

  • If you are a BCH-NFP and need to publish the report created by CPB-NFP or NAU: once request for publishing is made, you will receive an automated "publishing request" message at your registered e-mail. Click on the link you see in the e-mail message. You will be prompted to log in to the online format with your registered BCH account. Once logged in, you will see the details of the "Publishing Request" and the following buttons: "Approve", "Edit", "Reject". Click on "Approve" to publish the report. All records pending your approval are also visible on your Dashboard. 

You are also encouraged to use the offline template/format for the Fourth National Report (available in Microsoft Word format on the Dashboard) to gather and organize information prior to online submission. If you need any assistance, please contact us at: bch@cbd.int.

Question 4: How do I submit the report if I have limited Internet connectivity?

In this case, you may submit the completed offline template/format for the Fourth National Report in Microsoft Word format directly to the Secretariat (at secretariat@cbd.int), as an attachment to an e-mail, including a scanned copy of the first page signed. 

Question 5: What is the format of the Fourth National Report?

Most questions are in a multiple-choice format requiring only a tick in one or more boxes. Text fields are available so that Parties may provide further details.

Question 6: In what language can I submit the Fourth National Report?

The report may be submitted in any of the 6 official languages of the United Nations: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. Click on the ‘language’ icon on the top right corner of the BCH and then select your preferred language from the drop-down list.

Question 7: I have already submitted the Third National Report. Am I required to complete the Fourth National Report as well?

Yes. Decision BS-I/9 requires Parties to submit a National Report every four years. The Fourth National Report is intended to gather important information regarding the effectiveness of the Protocol and progress made in the implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Protocol for the period 2011-2020. The Fourth National Report format consists of a series of questions based on the provisions of the Protocol as well as questions that relate to indicators in the Strategic Plan. All questions listed in the report format contribute to measuring progress against the baseline adopted by decision BS-VI/15, paragraph 2.

The general principles that have been applied in the development of the Fourth National Report are as follows:

a) the improvement of the formulation of questions for their clarity, providing further explanation where necessary and aligning the language with the wording of the Protocol and adopted operational definitions, where applicable;

b) the removal of questions that were redundant or no longer relevant, in particular duplicate questions;

c) the revision of possible responses to some questions to improve the clarity of the answers, in particular answers that contained interval scales that offered more than one possible option;

d) the addition of questions that address mainstreaming biosafety into national biodiversity strategies and action plans, other policies and legislation; and

e) the addition of questions related to liability and redress, in light of the entry into force of the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress.

Question 8: What time period is the report intended to cover?

It is intended to cover the period between the submission of the Third National Report and the date of submission of the Fourth National Report. In the case of countries that became a Party to the Protocol after 31 October 2015 (deadline for submission of the Third National Report) the time period to be covered in the Fourth National Report is the period between the entry into force of the Protocol for that Party and the date of completion/submission of the Fourth National Report.

Question 9: Why am I blocked from answering some of the questions?

Your answer in the preceding question may not require you to complete the succeeding related question(s). Simply proceed to where you are able to continue filling in the questions.

Question 10: What does the red star beside a question mean?

This indicates that the question is mandatory and that you will not be able to publish/submit your report until it is completed.

Question 11: Is my country eligible for UNEP-GEF funding to complete the Fourth National Report?

Please refer to the following notification for further details: Notification.

Eligible Parties may contact:

Alex Owusu-Biney

Portfolio Manager (Biosafety), GEF Coordination

Division of Environmental Policy Implementation

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

P. O. Box 30552 - 00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: +254 20 7624066

Fax: +254 20 7624041/42

Email: alex.owusu-biney@un.org

Web: http://www.unep.org/biosafety

How do I subscribe to the BCH newsletter?

All BCH users with registered BCH accounts may subscribe to receive recent Biosafety Protocol News – a newsletter on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

The purpose of the newsletter is to promote awareness of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and provide a means through which Parties to the Protocol and other stakeholders could share news and information regarding their efforts and experiences.

To subscribe to receiving the BCH newsletter, please go to this link: https://bch.cbd.int/member/subscriptions.shtml 

Where can I find information on National Reports?

National Reports can be found:

  • On the Search page.

                   --OR--

  • On the National Report Analyzer page. On the top navigation bar, click on Search and then on “National Report Analyzer”. The National Report Analyzer tool allows users to perform various analyses of the information contained in the reports. You can open the report from the National Report Analyzer. To do so:
    1. In “National Report” drop down list, select the report of interest.
    2. In “Geographical areas” drop down list, select “Select countries”.
    3. Click on the country(ies) of interest, and then click on the Close button.
    4. Click on the Analyze button. An analysis report will appear.
    5. In the column to the right, click on the country name and then on the country code (for example: click on Belarus and then on BY). The report will open.
What type of users can submit information in the BCH?

Most of the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) pages are in public domain. However, to submit, update or delete information, as well as to participate in some online activities (e.g. forums, real-time conference, etc.), users must be registered and sign in with their account. Access to special areas, such as collaborative portals or dedicated forums, may also be subject to users' roles.

All registered users may submit information to the BCH, with the exception of some restrictions. 

The 2 types of users are: 

  • National users; and 
  • General registered users.

National users

National users are users who are authorized to create, publish and update National Records.

National Records are published by Governments and include information relevant for the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol, as well as information Parties are obliged to provide in accordance with the Protocol. 

National users are:

  1. BCH National Focal Points (BCH-NFPs) who may submit and directly publish National Records with the exception of National Focal Point records.  
  2. Cartagena National Focal Points (CPB-NFPs) may also submit National Records with the exception of National Focal Point records. When submitted by CPB-NFP, National Records are subject to validation by the corresponding BCH-NFP prior to publication.
  3. National Authorized Users (NAUs) may submit all or some types of National Records (depending on their role), with the exception of National Focal Point records. When submitted by NAUs, National Records are subject to validation by the corresponding BCH-NFP prior to publication.

Note:

All National Records are validated and published by BCH National Focal Points only. Reference Records can be submitted by all national users as well, but they are validated and published by the Secretariat.


General registered users

General registered users are any other users who are not Focal Points or National Authorized Users. They can represent Parties, Non-Parties, governments, civil society, relevant stakeholders and general public, and may submit all types of Reference Records. Once submitted, records will be in the “pending approval” status and it is the responsibility of the Secretariat to verify the accuracy and completeness of these records prior to their publication in the BCH. Therefore, Reference Records can be published by the Secretariat only.


Important Remarks

Information submitted should exclude anything confidential as the objective is to make it publicly available on the BCH.

Exception

Contacts (CON) is the only Reference Record that can be submitted and published by any national and/or general registered BCH user.

Contact us

Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

413 Saint-Jacques Street, suite 800
Montreal, Quebec, H2Y 1N9
Canada

Tel.: +1 514 288 2220
Fax: +1 514 288 6588
E-mail: bch@cbd.int  / absch@cbd.int 

 

What is the BCH Training Site?

The BCH Training Site is a mirror copy of the official BCH and has been implemented to help users familiarize themselves with the various functionalities of the BCH. It can be accessed through the Help tab on the top navigation bar. In order to access the site, registered users must sign in with their e-mail and password.

Once signed in, users may practice submitting records, for training purposes only, as (i) a general registered user, (ii) a BCH National Focal Point (BCH-NFP), (iii) Cartagena Notional Focal Point (CPB-NFP), or (iv) a National Authorized User (NAU).

To change your role to the any of the ones mentioned above, please contact us at bch@cbd.int. The Biosafety Team will assign you the requested role which will be applicable to the Training Site only.

Please note that any records published or modified on the Training Site will NOT affect the official BCH site and will NOT be made publicly available. 

Please contact us at bch@cbd.int if you have any questions about the Training Site.