A CHM was established under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to promote and facilitate technical and scientific cooperation within and between countries with respect to biological diversity. The objectives of the CHM are identified in the CHM strategic plan (UNEP/CBD/COP/5/INF/3):
1) the promotion and facilitation of technical and scientific cooperation;
2) the development of a global mechanism for exchanging and integrating information on biodiversity; and,
3) the development of the CHM Focal Points and their partners.
The national CHM websites of the signatory countries, administered by the national CHM Focal Point, are an important component of the CHM. National websites contain all national biodiversity-related information that is required to assist policy makers and interested stakeholders to meet obligations under the CBD and to conserve and sustainable use biodiversity.
At the COP10 of the CBD held in Nagoya, Japan, CHM was integrated into the process of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). In paragraph 2 (a) of decision X/15 on the CHM, the Conference of the Parties encouraged Parties to continue to take the necessary steps to establish, strengthen, and ensure the sustainability of, national clearing house mechanisms. CHM goal2 also state that national clearing house mechanisms should provide effective information services to facilitate the implementation of the national biodiversity strategies and action plans.
South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP) being and environmental intergovernmental organization of the region, developed a programme to build the capacities of member countries on the Clearing House Mechanism of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The 11th meeting of the Governing Council (GC 11) of the SACEP adopted a decision and suggested
a) Assist member countries of South Asia to build capacity to develop and maintain National CHM
b) Assist member countries to develop and maintain National CHMs
c) Develop a regional CHM that meets the needs of the region, links together the national CHMs and provides a forum for promoting regional scientific and technical cooperation
It also decided that activity (c) should be taken up only after completion of (a) and (b) when implementing the project.
In line with the GC decision, SACEP has availed its technical assistance for member countries to develop their National CHMs.
Currently, on request of Sri Lanka, SACEP is assisting to develop its National CHM.