The Biosecurity Clearing House facilitates the exchange of information on modified living organisms and helps countries implement the protocol. b) An export party or shipping group may also ask the importing party to reconsider its decisions if circumstances change or new information becomes available. The protocol has created a Biotech Risk Prevention Clearing House (BCH) to facilitate the exchange of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information on modified living organisms and their experience; and to assist the parties in implementing the protocol (Article 20 of the Protocol, SCBD 2000). It was set in stages and the first meeting of the parties approved the transition from the pilot phase to the fully operational phase and adopted the terms of its operation (BS-I/3 decision, SCBD 2004). (c) within 270 days of the date of receipt of the notification, the importing party must make a decision by communicating it to the registrant and the BCH: (i) import authorization, (ii) import ban, (iii) request for relevant additional information, or (iv) extension of 270 days for a specified period. Unless it is granted unconditional permission, the importing party must justify its decision. Member State governments must commit to promoting public awareness, ensuring public access to information and public consultation. The protocol recognizes the importance of national measures to make its procedures effective. Nations must also take steps to prevent illegal transfers or accidental releases of LVO. Examples of information contained in the BCH include any legislation, regulations or guidelines in place for the implementation of the protocol, a summary of LVO`s environmental risk assessments or assessments, and final decisions to import or release LVO. The protocol addresses the parties` obligations with respect to cross-border transfers of LVO to and from non-contracting parties to the protocol. Cross-border movements between contracting and non-contracting parties must be carried out in a manner consistent with the objective of the protocol.
Contracting parties are required to encourage non-parties to comply with the protocol and to provide information to the clearing house for the prevention of biotech risks. Under the AIA and other procedures under the protocol, the importing party will need information on LVO and the proposed uses of LVO, in order to enable its regulators to make an informed decision on whether the import of the relevant IMM should be authorized. The notifyer must provide the regulators with all the necessary information, but it can identify certain information that should remain confidential, i.e. that should not be disclosed to third parties, including the public. If the importing party and the notifyer do not agree on the information that must be treated confidentially, the importing party should consult with the applicant before notification and the registrant may decide to withdraw the request. The minutes state that the following information should never be treated confidentially: (a) the name and address of the notifier; b) the general description of the modified living organism; (c) a summary of the risk assessment; and (d) methods and contingency plans.