EC CHM - The European Community Clearing House Mechanism
Supporting the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity
What is the EC CHM?
It is the European Communitys contribution to the global Clearing House Mechanism being developed under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The EC CHM aims at facilitating scientific and technical co-operation and at providing access to information relevant to the implementation of the CBD by the European Community. It should also contribute to education programmes and to raising public awareness of biodiversity.
Access to the EC CHM is possible from both the Europa website of the European Commission (http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/biodiversity/index_en.htm) and from that of the European Environment Agency (http://biodiversity-chm.eea.eu.int).
Why an EC CHM?
The European Community is committed to facilitate public access to information relevant for biodiversity. The EC CHM is a one-stop-shop for such information. For example, it provides access to information on policies, legislation, funding opportunities, data bases, sources of expertise, etc held by European Community institutions. It provides links to other institutions and organisations (governmental, private and NGOs) keeping useful information elsewhere in Europe. It also links to web sites of global organisations such as the CBD Secretariat web site. The EC CHM is therefore a key tool for anyone who wants to know more about biodiversity.
Thanks to the data and information available, the EC CHM is an important tool for promoting and facilitating scientific and technological co-operation not only within Europe but also with countries around the world, in particular with developing countries.
How does it work?
The EC CHM is the entry point to a huge network of institutions and organisations working directly on biodiversity or whose work is relevant to biodiversity. It provides tools (search facilities) to find information from different perspectives to meet the needs of different potential users. The EC CHM allows you to find out what information is available and to access it. Data and information available through the EC CHM is however kept and maintained by the original sources of information.
How is the EC CHM being developed?
The European Commission requested the European Environment Agency (EEA) to develop and maintain the EC CHM. The pilot phase of the mechanism is being funded by the European Commissions IDA-II programme (interchange of data between administrations). Both a Steering Committee and a Task Force guide the development of the EC CHM. They include representatives from EU Member States, the CBD Secretariat, UNEP-ROE and the Council of Europe. Representatives from other countries and, in particular, developing countries have also been involved in the development of the EC CHM.
The development of the EC CHM is based on the global guidelines set by the CBD Secretariat and uses the facilities of the EEA website and its standardised document handling. The additional information technology being developed for the website is using generic tools as much as possible. The technical solutions will be made available to other users after the pilot phase is completed.
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