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Codex Members deliberate priorities for Latin America and Caribbean in 2020-2025


Codex Members of the Latin America and the Caribbean region met in Panama City on 11 November 2018 to discuss the draft Codex Strategic Plan (2020-2025). Organized by the regional coordinator, Chile, the meeting brought together 22 participants from 11 countries, who were attending the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene.

Constanza Vergara of Chile led the meeting on behalf of the Regional Coordinator. In light of the experience of the participants in Codex standard-setting and implementation, the meeting served as an opportunity to brainstorm on the challenges  countries could face in trying to achieve the strategic goals and to consider how the Strategic Plan may be tailored as a result of these considerations.

On behalf of the sub-committee of the Executive Committee established to draft the Codex Strategic Plan, Mariam Eid welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of their contributions to the planning activity.

She also said that the success of the Codex Strategic Plan is dependent on the inclusion of all Codex Members in its development.

Highlighting the important role of Codex ‘practitioners’ in the development of the Codex Strategic Plan, Sarah Cahill, Senior Food Standards Officer with the Codex Secretariat, told the meeting, “The Codex Strategic Plan is the plan of the Codex Members and as it is ultimately the Members who are responsible for its implementation, it is critically important that it reflect your vision and needs for the next six years”.

Representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay shared some of their concerns in an effort to coordinate regional feedback on the Plan.

Noting the connections between Goals 1, 2 and 3 of the Strategic Plan, the discussions highlighted the need to base standards on science and risk analysis. Participants identified challenges such as the need for data and information to identify and assess emerging and other issues; the capacity and resources to engage more comprehensively and ultimately promote the development of standards more in line with national needs.

Even when a key issue is identified, the lack of expertise and resources can mean that countries are unable to prepare the necessary documentation to get the issue on the Codex agenda. For example, Uruguay had originally proposed new work on Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in 2014 but was unable to develop the project document to be considered by the relevant Codex committee, in this case CCFH, until it partnered with the USA and Chile. (The proposal is being discussed at CCFH this week.) Participants recognized there were ways to improve how they worked together that would enable them to be proactive rather that reactive in their participation in Codex.

The Codex Secretariat strongly encouraged the delegates to use these discussions as a basis to work with their national Codex Contact Points to submit suggestions for the Strategic Plan.

The draft Strategic Plan for 2020-2025 is open for comments until 30 November 2018. Based on the comments, the revised draft will be prepared for discussion and adoption by the Codex Alimentarius Commission in July 2019.

See the draft Codex Strategic Plan 2020-2025