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: email@example.com.
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 the “Save 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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com), 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:
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