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Non-compliance with world animal and plant health and food safety standards is deemed as a major barrier to accessing international agricultural trade and thereby denying countries the exploitation of the competitive advantage of their locally produced commodities, thus missing out on the potential benefits.
The IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD), in collaboration with African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), organized a regional training workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 10-12, 2014. The workshop had the following specific objectives:
• To provide training to public and private sectors’ representatives on the use of science-based methods and scientific arguments in standard-setting and on some principles of the SPS Agreement of the WTO
• To establish regional SPS coordinating committee, discuss and adapt the ToR
• To propose ways of strengthening/establishing national SPS committees
The training workshop involved 27 participants from both the public and private sectors of IGAD Member states, FAO and North Eastern Africa Livestock Council (NEALCO). The welcoming remarks were given by Dr. Ameha Sebsibe, head of livestock on behalf of ICPALD Director and by Dr. Samuel Wakhusama, on behalf of the AU-IBAR Director, and opening remark was delivered by Dr. Bewket Siraw, CVO Ethiopia. In their remarks noted that SPS are needed to protect human from unsafe food. They also indicated that poor participation of Africa Nations in international standard setting and lack of compliance to SPS measures have been major challenges in livestock and livestock product trade development. IGAD in collaboration with AUIBAR took a leading role in coordinating member states in the region to form and strengthen SPS Committees and commended the two institutions for organizing this important training event for both public and private sectors.
The training covered the following important topics; The WTO SPS agreement; general aspects of the organisation and main principles of the SPS agreement, main principles and challenges, The OIE : Presentation of the organization – Standard setting process, The Codex Alimentarius Commission: Presentation of the organization – Standard setting process, The IPPC: Presentation of the organization – Standard setting process, Risk analysis (in SPS and its application in standard setting and science based arguments) , Cost Benefit Analysis and its use in the application of SPS measures and Principles of negotiation. Moreover, good practises video on trading safely was shown and discussed
1. Recognizing the importance of national SPS committee in coordinating activities of animal health, food safety and plant health at national level in relation to SPS matters; the workshop recommended AU/IBAR and IGAD to support member states through strengthening existing SPS committees and establishing national SPS committees where it is not available
a. In IGAD member states with no SPS committee (Ethiopia and Somalia), the participants recommended that the core national team participated in the regional training workshop to serve as a foundation team for national SPS committee and to jointly coordinate with IGAD in organizing SPS national training / sensitization workshops/ for SPS stakeholders and form the national SPS committee
b. The participants also recommended that IGAD and AUIBAR strengthen member states with SPS committees through conducting more SPS trainings and sanitization workshop for stakeholders in
• South Sudan
2. Acknowledging the phasing out of PANSPSO Project and the CODEX trust fund; and limited support from national budget, the workshop recommended that:
i. AUIBAR, IGAD and the regional SPS committee to explore opportunities of supporting member countries to participate in the international standards setting forum and to attend regional trainings on SPS issues.
ii. IGAD member states also need to explore various opportunities to solicit fund such as developing concept note and apply for STDF; to develop TCPs and request FAO for funding to support their national SPS committee activities and request the respective National governments to support their participation in standard setting process.
3. Recognizing the increasing concern in food safety issues and their effect on human health; the workshop recommended that member states including food aid recipient countries and private sector are made aware of the food safety issues in the region and their capacity strengthened to be able to put in place food safety regulatory mechanism
4. Given that the application for WTO membership is time consuming, the workshop also recommended that IGAD’s member states that have not yet applied for WTO membership to speed up applying and to include a budget provision for SPS activities in their national annual budget
5. The workshop participants also encouraged to share the training materials to relevant private and public stakeholders
6. The participants also urged the provisional executive members of the regional SPS committee to closely work with IGAD, AUIBAR and national SPS committee to undertake the responsibility provided in the ToR