Безопасность и качество пищевых продуктов

Online training provides insights on the FAO/WHO Codex diagnostic tool


On 27 November 2020, FAO and WHO jointly led an online training session for Codex Members in Europe and Central Asia about making the best use of the FAO/WHO diagnostic tool for assessing status of National Codex Programmes.

The 1.5-hour session, conducted in English and Russian, guided the 23 participants through the tool functions and methodology, explaining that the tool aids countries to take stock of their national Codex programme and to assess what is working well and identify areas in need of improvement.

The tool can be used by Codex Contact Points and the competent authorities to assess:
- the institutional mechanisms for managing national Codex activities and processes for consultation, communication and management of Codex work;
- the knowledge and understanding of Codex work; and
- the policy framework and use of Codex work at the national-level.

“The need for a good, strong national Codex system is apparent when you attend Codex meetings,” Mary Kenny, FAO Food Safety and Consumer Protection Officer with the Regional Office for Europe, told the participants. “How do I know if my national Codex system is working well? What is a robust national Codex programme? On Member countries’ request, FAO and WHO developed the Codex diagnostic tool to enable countries to answer questions like these, through self-assessment,” she reflected.

In illustrating the benefits of the tool, Peter Sousa Hoejskov, Technical Officer for Food Safety and Zoonotic Diseases with the WHO Regional Office for Europe, spoke of the role of Codex Contact Points. “You are the leaders who bring the relevant stakeholders together, get the process going and have everyone contribute,” he said, acknowledging the challenges of working across ministries and sectors. “We're here to help out,” he offered, encouraging the Codex Contact Points to reach out to FAO and WHO country or regional offices with any questions about the diagnostic tool and food safety programmes in general.

The training also outlined how the diagnostic tool can be used to seek funding. “The Codex Trust Fund is a joint FAO/WHO initiative, a funding mechanism, essential to help countries with a three-year support package where you take a look at the results of the diagnostic tool and design activities around those results to improve areas regarding Codex that you found need attention,” said Robert Lynam, Administrator of the Codex Trust Fund. With Round 5 underway, the FAO/WHO Codex Trust Fund is currently calling for applications, which must be submitted by 15 December 2020.

The perspectives of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, two countries granted the Codex Trust Fund for their successful applications in 2019, were shared during the training to convey their experiences with the tool and their encouragement for others to use it.

  • Nailya Karsybekova, Codex Contact Point of Kazakhstan

The tool, similar to examining a patient, can diagnose the problem and provide the solution. Proper use of the tool allows proper diagnosis of the status and identifies the best approach to improve the existing system with a comprehensive look.

One key recommendation for success, from our experience in using the tool, is to involve all the relevant stakeholders to discuss at national level, which will enable you to consider all the aspects to of the food system; and allow the stakeholders to feel ownership to make effort to improve the existing system. National Codex Committee, ministries, institutions, association from the private sector are all partners that need to be involved.

  • Fuad Mardiyev, Codex Contact Point of Azerbaijan

The Azerbaijan Food Safety Agency was very recently established to streamline the responsibility of food control from different institutions into one and appointed the focal point for Codex Alimentarius Commission. Taking into account that the Agency is a new institution, the staff was inexperienced on Codex work. We decided to build the foundation for the National Codex Committee within the new structure and applied for the Codex Trust Fund in 2019, which required the use of the Diagnostic Tool.

As a new agency, the evaluation with the Tool helped us to identify our priority needs for a strong base, and plan our direction for the way forward. Azerbaijan is planning to use the tool every two years to track progress towards the efficiently working National Codex Committee we would like to have in our country in the future.

The Diagnostic tool is available in five UN languages here

See the powerpoint from the webinar

Share this page