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HTML Document What are the bodies and mechanisms of the Convention on Biological Diversity?

Release date 24/03/2006

What is a COP?

COP stands for "Conference of the Parties". It is the Convention's ultimate authority and assembles representatives of all countries having signed the Convention (the 'Parties') as well as observers such as non-Party countries, UN agencies, international and non-governmental organisations.

Its basic function is to steer and supervise the entire process of implementing and further developing the Convention: it examines what progress has been made and sets work plans for future actions. The COP can also make amendments to the Convention and collaborate with other international treaties and processes.

The Conference of the Parties meets regularly to discuss important matters. There have already been 12 meetings. COP-12 took place in South-Korea in 2014. The thirteenth meeting, COP-13, will take place in 2016.

The website of the CBD's international Secretariat provide complementary on the background and status of the Conferences of the Parties.

What is a SBSTTA?

SBSTTA stands for "Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice". It is a committee composed of experts from member Parties, as well as of observers from non-Party countries, UN agencies, international and non-governmental organisations. Its aims are to provide the Conference of the Parties with advice and recommendations on scientific, technical and technological matters. The SBSTTA acts under the authority of the Conference of the Parties and, therefore, must comply with the guidelines adopted by the Conference.

Further reading is provided on the website of the CBD Secretariat, under the item Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice.

What is the Clearing-House Mechanism?

The Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) under the Convention on Biological Diversity is an information sharing mechanism set up to facilitate the exchange of scientific and technical information on the Convention.

The CHM operates mainly, but not exclusively, via the Internet. It is built up as a structurally decentralised and distributed network of focal points, who work together with the CBD Secretariat to develop and manage tools for the electronic exchange of information (websites, discussion lists, etc.).

The Belgian Clearing-House Mechanism (Be CHM) is the Belgian node of this worldwide network. Its role is not only to answer the information needs of Belgian actors involved in implementing the Convention but also to share its information and expertise with anyone interested in CBD-related matters.

The central web portal of the Clearing-House Mechanism is maintained by the CBD Secretariat.


The Belgian website for the CHM is ... the website you are currently visiting!

What is a National Focal Point?

National Focal Points are set up by each member Party. These official structures bodies are in charge of all the flow of information about the Convention at national level. In particular, they are expected to facilitate and promote the implementation of the Convention. They transmit information from the CBD Secretariat to their national authorities and, conversely, report to the Conference of Parties how their country is meeting its biodiversity goals.

There are different types of focal points pending on the issues to be addressed. For more information on the subject, visit the website of the Belgian National Focal Point.

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