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FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Specialists from post-Soviet countries study transparency in agricultural trade policies

FAO and UNITAR summarize the results of an e-learning course on Ensuring Agricultural Trade Policy Transparency in the post-Soviet countries. The course aim was to strengthen the knowledge of participants and equip them with a better understanding of the international instruments, rules, and procedures based on WTO agreements for ensuring agricultural and trade policy transparency in post-Soviet countries.

Iryna Kobuta, FAO economist and one of the course mentor’s, underscores the importance of the principle of transparency, which ensures that trade partners receive prompt and comprehensive information about a country’s trade policy and regulation changes that affect foreign trade. It is particularly important to be able to apply this principle in practice and create an effective system of transparency in the post-Soviet region.

A record number of applications for the course were received – from 296 specialists in 10 different countries including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. This was more than four times the 70-person limit. Of those accepted, 70 percent successfully completed the course requirements.

Experts who joined the course actively participated in discussions about the transparency instruments and procedures of the World Trade Organization, transparency of agricultural domestic support policy, and transparency of sanitary and phytosanitary regulatory measures. The largest group of participants in the training were specialists from ministries of agriculture, economy and trade, government departments and agencies responsible for sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and others directly involved in agricultural policy, regulation of sanitary and phytosanitary measures and other work related to ensuring transparency.

The importance of such e-learning courses is confirmed by the uniformly positive feedback of participants, which will be used to further improve future e-learning courses.

Feedback from participants:
Diana Nizovtseva, Russian Federation, National Meat Association.
I want to express my deep gratitude to the organizers, teachers and participants of this course. I was very surprised by the prompt and substantive responses from the teachers and technical support of the course. Especially, I would like to highlight the importance of additional tasks and discussions during the course.

A lively discussion dragged me into the study of the course so much that every email notification of a new reply to the questions in the discussion I never left unread. In turn, well-organized additional tasks had a focus on the most important and practical things.

In my opinion, the proposed study materials were not only informative, but also gave food for thought, which is very important for such educational programs. I would like to participate in similar upcoming courses on agricultural subjects. Thank you for the course!

Ksenia Gladchenko, Ukraine
Thank you very much for the course and for the opportunity to acquire new knowledge in such a user-friendly (free) format! In my work, I am not that much involved in the issues that we discussed in the course. However, through the study materials, I have learned about these questions more deeply and now many aspects of international trade transparency are clearer, which makes the course even more useful for me!

Gulnoz Hisamutdinova, State Service for Phytosanitary Supervision and Quarantine of Plants, Republic of Tajikistan.
I thank all the participants of this course – the organizers, developers, teachers and technical support group as well as fellow students – for the fruitful and practical training. For the opportunity to gain access to the knowledge and skills that are crucial for our work, and special thanks for giving us the possibility to continue our professional development.

Nadezhda Litvina, Risk Analysis Center (FGBU "VGNKI"), Russian Federation.
I wanted to thank the team of teachers for the training materials, presentation of the new information in a well-structured format, the high level of professionalism, valuable comments during the discussions, as well as summaries at the end of each study-week, which were very useful tools for learning new material.

Roman Anfimov, Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Republic of Belarus.
I would venture to express a collective opinion on the part of Belarus and note that we highly appreciate the opportunity to obtain such knowledge, which is even more important for us as a country that is considering joining the WTO. I would like to thank the teachers of the course. I must admit, that at the beginning I was very sceptical about communication through the discussion board, however, soon my scepticism disappeared. Perhaps it was an effect of the previous experience of online communication during the e-learning courses organized by the WTO.

Thank you for your patient response to all my questions by email and other means. Thanks to the organizers for their help and assistance, as well as for the regular reminders about the tasks that had to be submitted for successful completion of each module. And, of course, special thanks to colleagues for their comments. When you see the activity of other students you also want to get involved in discussions.

Aigul Seifullina, Department of International Economic Integration, Ministry of National Economy, Republic of Kazakhstan.
Also to note that the each module discussions were informative and helped to clarify some questions in details. To all my colleagues I wish success in their work and effective application of the knowledge gained during the course.

Asel Medetbekova, Division of WTO matters, Ministry of Economy, Kyrgyz Republic.
Thank you very much for a great course. I highly appreciate the competence and activity of teachers. Even though I did not have enough time to participate in all discussions, I always tried to read and gather the important information for myself.

5 December 2016, Budapest, Hungary

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