From 16 to 17 December 2015, a continental workshop on Capacity Building in Agriculture Trade issues was held at AU-IBAR under the scope of the project Participation of African Nations in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary standard setting organizations (PANSPSO-Project).
The objectives of the workshop are:
- Improving knowledge and understanding by participants of the provisions of the Agriculture negotiations Agreement of the WTO
- Improved knowledge and mastering of the Technical barriers to trade
- Improving knowledge and mastering of the Trade facilitation
- Enhancing the capacity of African countries to resolve trade issues using the provisions of the SPS Agreement
Participants at the workshop were officials of ministries in charge of trade, national notification authorities, national information points, and actors performing important functions relating to sanitary and phytosanitary issues in their country or region and who participated in the workshops and trainings organized by the AU-IBAR and the WTO.
The total number of participants was 35 from the following countries and institutions: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Senegal, Seychelles, Chad, Togo, Zambia, AU-IBAR and AU Office in Geneva.
Following the welcome address by Professor Ahmed El-Sawalhy, Director of AU-IBAR, on behalf of Mrs. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, His Excellency Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development addressed the workshop participants and officially opened it.
The following recommendations were adopted:
On the WTO Agreement on Agriculture
- African Union, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Member States to organize national, regional and continental workshops on SPS and on Agriculture Agreements, and on notifications;
- African Union, RECs and Member States to continue and expand training and capacity building sessions for national actors in charge of WTO issues, including SPS measures and to develop a permanent working partnership between national experts and government lawyers.
On The Doha Mandate & Development Agenda
- Encourage Member states to continue negotiations of the Doha Development Round and participate in the renegotiation of the Agreement on Agriculture;
- Encourage African Union member states speak with one voice;
- African Union, RECs and Member States to consider building the capacity in trade negotiations techniques.
On technical barriers to trade
- African Union, RECs and Member States to strengthen the capacity of the conformity assessment bodies (certification, inspection bodies, accreditation, standardization and metrology).
The closing ceremony was chaired by the Director of AU-IBAR and has recommended the participants to be very committed in the implementation of the recommendation.