A one-day meeting, the 'Africa coordination meeting in preparation for March 2015 WTO SPS Committee meeting' was held in Geneva at the African Union (AU) Permanent Mission on 24th March 2015. Twenty six delegates from fifteen countries attended the workshop. The countries represented were Angola, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, and Zambia. Representatives of AU/Geneva, AU-IBAR, SADC and WTO also participated.
The one day Geneva meeting, whose objective was to improve the quality and effectiveness of participation of African Member States in the activities of the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Committee, was chaired by the Director, AU-IBAR, Professor Ahmed El-Sawalhy.
Specific objectives of the meeting were to:
- Improve communication and circulation of information between relevant national stakeholders within African countries before the regular meetings of the WTO SPS committee.
- Improve communication and circulation of information between African countries before the regular meetings of the WTO SPS committee.
- Identify potential Specific Trade Concerns that could be raised by African countries or against African countries (by third countries), and prepare coordinated action by or support to the African countries involved.
- Harmonize/coordinate the submission of information to the SPS committee made by countries, RECs and the AU.
The fifth meeting of PANSPSO Steering Committee (PSC) was held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 26th February 2015. It was preceded on 25th February by the technical meeting of implementing partners.
It was attended by the Steering Committee Members and other participants.
The meeting was officially opened by H.E. Madam Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, The Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission. In attendance were Professor Ahmed Elsawalhy, Director of AU-IBAR; Dr. J. Mezui M'Ella the Director AU-IAPSC; representatives of EAC, ECCAS, ECOWAS, IGAD and UMA; representative of EU Delegation to Kenya, and OIE.
The PSC meeting deliberated on the following key issues:
- Matters arising and reports on follow-up of the 4th SCM held in Nairobi, Kenya, 6th February 2014.
- PANSPSO Technical and Financial Annual reports 2014 by AU-IBAR and the exit strategy of the project at regional and continental levels.
The PSC endorsed the following:
- The progress on the implementation of the recommendations of PSC 4
- The annual technical and financial report 2014 by AU-IBAR
- The development of an exit strategy at regional and continental levels
The PSC recommended necessary actions for effective implementation of the planned activities of the project and for ensuring functional linkages. It also consolidated the modalities for implementing project activities. The Committee gently requested the EU Delegation to transfer the remaining funds for 2015 on time to ensure timely implementation of activities.
The next meeting is scheduled for November 2015 at a venue and dates to be agreed upon.
The African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) / United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) /FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Africa (CCAfrica) Colloquium on Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) was held in Lomé, Togo from 17 to 19 February 2015 at the Hôtel IBIS. The participants comprised Food Safety experts including Codex Contact Point Officers/persons, senior experts and officials under ministries of health, agriculture, livestock and fisheries from Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Togo, United Republic of Tanzania and United States of America, and representatives from AU-IBAR and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).
Funded by the USDA Codex office, the Colloquium was officially opened by Mr. Babako Moet, Secretary General, representing the Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Government of Togo. Dr. Bonfoh, Director General of the Institut Togolais de Recherche Agronomique (ITRA) gave opening remarks on behalf of the ITRA which is the Codex Contact Point for Togo. AU-IBAR opening remarks were given by Dr. Raphael Coly, AU-IBAR PANSPSO Coordinator, while USDA remarks were made by Mrs Mary Frances Lowe, U.S. Codex Manager. CCAfrica opening remarks were given by Mr. Jean Martin Etoundi, Secrétaire Technique du CCAFRICA.
The objectives of the colloquium were:
- To get updates on Africa food safety issues as they relate to studies and control of mycotoxins, Ochratoxin in coffee and cocoa in Cote d'Ivoire and fumonisins in maize in Tanzania;
- To identify areas of capacity building on Codex participation and on food safety organization in Africa including risk analysis and establishment of food control authorities at national and regional levels;
- To exchange views and share experiences between CCAfrica and U.S. Codex Delegates on Codex draft standards under discussion in various Codex committees;
- To find opportunities to collaborate on strategies for advancing shared regional positions; and
- To adopt harmonized positions on key Codex issues of importance to both regions.
The Colloquium was organized in such a manner that presentations were made on day one in a plenary. The plenary presentations included:
- An overview and objectives of the colloquium;
- Reinforcing National Codex Committees: Case of countries in Central Africa;
- Importance of science in the Codex work with reference to the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA); the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR); and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meetings on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA);
- Determination of contamination level of ochratoxin A in green coffee beans and cocoa at export;
- The risk management dilemma for fumonisin mycotoxins – study done in Tanzania; and
- Discussion on the implementation of the CCAfrica Regional Codex guideline "CAC/GL 43R-2003: African Regional Guidelines for Codex Contact Points and National Codex Committees"
- Workshop on Exit Strategy for the National SPS Committee of Burkina Faso
- AU-IBAR provides support to the National SPS Committee in Burundi
- African National Codex Contact Points (NCCPs) reached common positions on Codex standards and related texts referred to the 37th Session to the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC)
- African OIE Delegates reached common positions on animal health standards