Agencies agree on plan for food safety, animal and plant health assistance
Aim is to help developing countries implement international standards
18 December 2006, Rome - Five international organizations, donors and representatives of beneficiary countries today approved a new medium-term strategy for their joint efforts to help developing countries implement internationally agreed standards for food safety and animal and plant health.
The strategy will strengthen the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) in its continued efforts to assist developing countries in implementing international sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards. To date, the STDF has approved 23 projects and 21 project-preparation grants benefiting developing and least-developed countries.
The STDF was created in 2002 as a trust fund by the five organizations: the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). This followed a joint commitment made at the WTO’s Ministerial Conference in Doha in November 2001. The STDF is administered by the WTO.
Today's meeting in Rome was hosted by FAO, with representatives of the other organizations, donors and developing countries attending. The new strategy for the STDF aims to advance the facility in its capacity-building efforts. It places much greater emphasis on the facility acting as a vehicle for coordination, fund mobilization and the identification and dissemination of best practice in the provision of SPS-related technical cooperation and capacity building. With increasing donor funds going into SPS-related technical cooperation projects, identifying and implementing good practices is of benefit to donors and recipients alike.
So far, 11 donors have committed funds to the STDF. With a new operating strategy in place, it is hoped that the annual funding target of US$5 million will be met. The medium-term strategy also sees a role for the facility to act as a vehicle for facilitating grant applications mobilization, with project-preparation grants being used to channel funds from the wider donor community. Forty percent of facility resources are committed for least-developed countries and other low-income economies.
Assisting developing countries in the use of international standards developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, International Plant Protection Convention and World Organization for Animal Health helps developing countries gain and maintain market access. It also improves their domestic human, animal and plant health situation.
Media Relations, FAO
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