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CCGP France / Organization key to building a successful virtual event


Countries all over the world were watching the French Secretariat closely as the first Codex subsidiary body to meet virtually, the Codex Committee on General Principles (CCGP), launched the 2021 series of Codex technical meetings. The Executive Committee had already shown that meetings could be managed this way for smaller groups and the first ever virtual Commission in 2020 had demonstrated that high-level gatherings were also possible with bigger numbers – over 900 delegates registered. The next challenge however for Codex was getting into the detail of texts in the drafting phase and seeing what opportunities and challenges delegates would face working online. No more pre-session informal gatherings or moments to connect outside the plenary socially, no chance to build new relationships, share ideas and understand the different points of view out of the spotlight. This was Codex 101 online.

“We are pleased to have brought this project to life and to have faced the challenges both in form and substance,” said a spokesperson for the French Secretariat. There were a lot of firsts in the session; the logistical challenges for a meeting held online in three languages, holding a side event and producing materials for delegates in a whole new way. More than 300 delegates joined the sessions, reflecting the interest in the global Codex community for the work of the committee. “We are delighted to have succeeded in our mission and thank all the organizations and people who took part in this great adventure,” said the spokesperson.

“Oui” consensus is possible.

The task of chairing this groundbreaking session fell to Jean-Luc Angot of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. “Yes, reaching consensus in a virtual committee session is possible;” he said, also commenting on the need to find the right balance between time for discussion and individual interventions.

“The record numbers illustrate that the virtual modality can increase participation and thus inclusiveness in Codex work,” said Hilde Kruse of the Codex Secretariat. Congratulating the French team on their success Kruse said: “Delegates are increasingly becoming used to virtual meetings and the committee finished its agenda … An important lesson learnt was the value of preparatory work - from logistics and audiovisual to the availability of documents and communication”.


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