The Belgian Clearing-House Mechanism


What is the Clearing-House Mechanism ?

Originally used in the business sector, a "clearing-house" is a service which facilitates and simplifies transactions among multiple parties.

The Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an information sharing mechanism set up to promote and facilitate the scientific and technical cooperation in relation to the three objectives of the Convention: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. It also plays an important role in developing public awareness on those three objectives.

The CHM operates mainly, but not exclusively, via the Internet and is built up as a structurally decentralised and distributed network of Parties and partners working together to facilitate the implementation of the Convention. It provides a variety of on-line data on the Convention, thematic programmes and cross-cutting issues as well as a direct access to numerous international, national and supra-national websites. Its development is supported by recommendations by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), decisions by the Conference of the Parties (COP) and input from regional workshops and expert meetings such as the Informal Advisory Committee (IAC).

Who benefits ?

Benefits are deliberately two-directional:

  1. Developing countries gain, inter alia:
  • a forum for articulating priority needs for scientific and technical exchanges;
  • access to appropriate scientific and technical information from developed countries;
  • access to appropriate scientific and technical information from nations that have comparable ecological, social and economic conditions.
  1. Developed countries gain, inter alia:
  • increased ability to form partnerships in sustainable development, particularly to exchange expertise and information;
  • more efficiency to respond to identified needs for capacity building and technology transfer.

The Belgian Clearing-House Mechanism

On 7 October 1996, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, in its quality of Belgian National Focal Point to the Convention on Biological Diversity, launched the Belgian Clearing-House Mechanism (B CHM) on the Internet. It was the fifth CHM website to be added to the official llist of Clearing-Houses by the Secretariat of the Convention.

The main tasks of the B CHM are to:

  • provide extensive information on the Convention on Biological Diversity and its implementation in Belgium;
  • present information on the status of biodiversity at national level, i.e. species, ecosystems and habitats, in-situ and ex-situ conservation, direct and indirect threats, red lists, etc.;
  • assist the implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans;
  • promote scientific and technical cooperation, as well as capacity building among Parties of the Convention;
  • raise and promote public awareness and education on biological diversity matters.

Its main deliverables are:

  • an internet-based gateway providing:
    • information on the CBD and its implementation process at national level,
    • on-line versions of strategic documents related to the Convention (national reports, strategies and action plans, country study, etc.),
    • a permanent link between the CBD Secretariat and Belgian actors,
    • links to internet-based biodiversity information in Belgium,
    • a quality-based selection of relevant links at local, national and international level,
    • a variety of facilities such as an extensive list of abbreviations and a glossary related to the Convention;
  • any appropriate non internet-based ways (posters, folders, CD roms, etc.) to disseminate CBD information and share available experience;
  • partnering role to developing countries by hosting for the time needed their national CHM and by providing training opportunities for CHM national focal points;
  • a participation in public awareness actions to promote biodiversity knowledge and education.

The B CHM aims to avoid the duplication of efforts by looking for existing information and providing links to those websites. The B CHM creates its own pages to give added value to the information already available on the Internet, for example by integrating data from the three national regions (Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia) and communities (Flemish-, French- and German-speaking Communities) in order to present them in a coherent structure at national level. The role of the B CHM is also to stimulate actors to share their available information and data by making them available on the Internet.

National Focal Point to the Clearing-House Mechanism

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautier Street 29
B-1000 Brussels (Belgium)
Contact: Dr.  J. Van Goethem
Tel. : +32-(0)2-627 43 43
Fax : +32-(0)2-627 41 41


Please note that the B CHM is under permanent development. A number of pages are still only demos, presenting ideas for further development and encouraging cooperation from as many sectors as possible. Your comments, suggestions and proposals for links and/or addition of on-line data are most welcome. 

Home > Implementation > Belgian Clearing-House Mechanism

Last updated  20-12-2004

Belgian Clearing-House Mechanism, 2001.
On the Internet since 7 October 1996.
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Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences