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FAO Director-General highlights role of trade in food security and the use of public standards to ensure food safety

Graziano da Silva participates in WTO's 5th Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva

1 July 2015, Geneva - Global trade can play an important role in improving food security and nutrition and in fighting poverty and hunger while the use of science-based public standards is essential to ensure food safety, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva has told participants in the World Trade Organization's 5th Global Review of Aid For Trade.

According to the FAO Director-General, food safety is particularly important in trade since it serves to instil confidence in consumers and in importing countries with regards to traded products. On the other hand, food safety incidents, or plant and animal trans-boundary disease outbreaks can have negative impacts on public health, on trade, on peoples' livelihoods and on countries' economies.

This is why FAO is engaged in the effective implementation of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the WTO (SPS) which are necessary to facilitate safe trade in agricultural products, Graziano da Silva told a panel discussion in Geneva on Tuesday.

FAO plays a unique role in this regard, hosting the Secretariats of two international standard-setting bodies, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the Joint FAO/World Health Organization Codex Alimentarius Commission, known as Codex, which sets international food standards.

Developing the scientific advice to ensure that the IPPC and Codex support the strengthened engagement of developing countries in the standard-setting process is also a FAO priority, as is helping to develop the capacity of countries to reliably implement these standards.

Meeting with WTO Director-General

The fact that safe trade requires sound international standards based on science and that countries need to be able to implement these standards was emphasized during a meeting between Graziano da Silva and WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. The WTO and FAO chiefs agreed that both their organizations should continue to work together on how sound international standards help ensure food safety and support farmers.

Photo: ©FAO/WTO/Studio Casagrande
FAO's Director-General at the 5th Global Review of Aid For Trade.

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