About the CHM :: CHM worldwide
Recognizing the importance of biodiversity to our daily lives and the pressure that human activities are placing on our living world, governments adopted the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992 as a framework for action. From the start it was understood that scientific knowledge and technological know-how would have a vital role to play. However, expertise in managing information and technology varies enormously from country to country. For this reason, the Convention has established a Clearing-House Mechanism to ensure that all governments have access to the information and technologies they need for their work on biodiversity.
Principle, mission, main objectives and characteristics of Clearing House Mechanism
The Clearing-House is based on the philosophy that broad participation and easy access must be a top priority. Its database can therefore be tapped through both traditional and electronic means of communication. Special efforts are made to ensure the participation of indigenous communities, whose unique knowledge and expertise are so important.
The clearing-house mission is to:- Promote and facilitate technical and scientific cooperation, within and between countries;- Develop a global mechanism for exchanging and integrating information on biodiversity;- Develop the necessary human and technological network.The Clearing-House mechanism seeks to support the Convention s thematic and cross-cutting programmes:marine and coastal biodiversity,agricultural biodiversity,forest biodiversity,the biodiversity of inland waters,dry and sub-humid lands,mountain biodiversity,of work by promoting cooperation in six key areas:- tools for decision-making,- training and capacity-building,- research,- funding,- technology transfer, and- the repatriation of information.
The mechanisms key characteristics are:- Compatible with different levels of national capacity;- Needs-driven;- Structurally decentralized;- Provides access to information;- Supports decision-making;- Has no vested interest in controlling the expertise or information;- Created for the mutual benefit of all participants.
The mechanisms first priority was to ensure universal access to the Conventions official records. The text of the Convention and the text of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, lists of signatories and Parties, and official reports and documents have been made available through the Conventions Website, on CD-ROM and in paper form. Since then, the range of available information has been greatly expanded. Users can now readily access case studies, national and other reports, and initiatives and programmes such as the Global Taxonomy Initiative and those on sustainable tourism and traditional knowledge. Technical and scientific expertise is promoted through a Roster of Government-Nominated Experts in relevant fields relevant.
CHM Areas of Work
The Clearing-House also seeks to increase public awareness of Convention programmes and issues. It is establishing an Internet-based system to facilitate greater collaboration among countries through education and training projects, research cooperation, funding opportunities, access to and transfer of technology, and repatriation of information. Experts are being linked to facilitate joint work programmes. For example, the mechanism works with the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) and with the Conventions scientific body to develop a joint scientific initiative on invasive alien species. The clearing-house also strives to link the rich human resources of developing countries with cutting-edge scientific initiatives in developed countries to create a mutually supportive and beneficial approach to problem-solving.The secretariat of the Convention is promoting the clearinghouse and its goals through workshops addressing the scientific and technical information needs of developing countries. These workshops give priority to issues identified by the countries themselves, such as assessing national capacities for implementing the Convention, improving access to new information technologies and expertise, and strengthening Public Education and Awareness.
Biosafety Clearing House
Another CHM initiative is the creation of a section dedicated to the Biosafety Clearing-House to support the Cartagena Protocol. The will allow the clearing-house mechanism to facilitate the exchange of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information and experience relating to living modified organisms (LMOs).
Main documents and current priorities of the Global CHM
The document of the 7th meeting of the CoP to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was held in Kuala Lumpur in February 2004, presents review of the achievements in the process of establishing and developing the national Clearing House Mechanisms. An assessment was made of the existing capacity and the needs of its further development regarding CHM functioning and improvement in the surveyed countries. The Action Plan included in the document can be considered as important part of the CHM development.