Tag Article | Access and Benefit-Sharing Clearing-House

Relationship between the three Clearing-Houses of the Convention

  23 Nov 2021

The Convention has three clearing-house mechanisms:

  • the main clearing-house mechanism of the Convention (CHM),
  • the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) of the Cartagena Protocol; and
  • the Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing-House (ABSCH) of the Nagoya Protocol.

The CHM of the Convention on Biological Diversity (available at http://www.cbd.int/chm/) was established in accordance with Article 18(3) of the Convention to promote and facilitate technical and scientific cooperation on all biodiversity issues. It has been developed as a single and unified platform which also supports the dedicated clearing-houses of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (BCH) and the Nagoya Protocol (ABSCH). You can access all clearing-houses with the same CBD account that you can create at https://accounts.cbd.int/signup. However, each of the clearing-houses has a dedicated portal for searching and registering information in order to respond to the specific needs of the Parties with regard to the implementation of the different treaties.

The BCH was established under Article 20 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety with a focus on the information that must be exchanged under the Cartagena Protocol. The ABSCH (available at https://absch.cbd.int/) was established under Article 14 of the Nagoya Protocol with a focus on the information that must be exchanged under the Nagoya Protocol. One of the major differences with the CHM is that the other two clearing-houses enumerate a variety of categories of information which Parties to the each of the Protocols are legally obliged to provide through the BCH and ABSCH respectively. However, there are no such legal requirements for Parties to the Convention to make information available through the CHM. Because of this role, the BCH and ABSCH have some characteristics, features and functions which are specific to their individual portals.

Common formats and rules of operation need to be compatible and, where possible, harmonized across the clearing-houses. The common formats developed for the BCH make use, as much as possible, of predefined text or controlled vocabularies that are compatible with the controlled vocabularies of the CHM and the ABSCH.

Joint Modalities of Operation

At the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 17-29 November 2018), the Parties endorsed the joint modalities of operation for the clearing-house mechanism of the CHM, BCH and ABSCH. The joint modalities were also endorsed by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartegena Protocol in decision CP-9/2, as well as by the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol in decision NP-3/3

The purpose of the joint modalities of operation is to ensure consistency among the platforms and strengthen coherence and integration between the three main clearing-houses of the Convention, while preserving the specific functionalities unique to each clearing-house. The joint modalities of operation can be found in the Annex to COP decision 14/25

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