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Technical Meeting on the impact of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) on food safety management

23/05/2016 - 25/05/2016
FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy

Advances in genome sequencing technology and techniques have the potential to change the way we conduct food safety management. With recent developments of the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques, the costs associated with utilizing the techniques based on genomics is rapidly declining. Some of these key techniques prove significant cross-sector potential across animal, food and human and could eventually contribute to the global goal in consumer protection, trade facilitation and food security.

However, the level of understanding on the concepts and potential use of such techniques varies among countries. Particularly for developing countries, considerations on capacity, regulatory and resource implications needs to be given.

The Technical Meeting provides opportunity for participants to understand the current applications on genome sequencing and its implications on food safety management in the regulatory framework. Thus, government officials who are tasked to manage food safety matters at the national level are the primary audience. At the same time, understanding various perspectives from different sectors including civil societies, private sector, academia/research and cooperative/producer organizations are valuable to construct effective discussions on the practical issues around benefits and drawbacks in applying the technology.

For further information, visit the meeting website .

1.Expression of interest to attend

1.Expression of interest to attend

If you are a representative of a civil society organization; private sector entity (including philanthropic foundations); academic/research institution; or a cooperative/producer organization, please follow these instructions to express an interest in attending the Technical Meeting:

  1. Please click on register to create an account, which will be linked to your organization.
  2. Make sure you remember both username and password chosen.
  3. An email will be sent to the email address related to your account. Click on the link contained on this email to confirm your account.
  4. This link will take you to a screen where you will have to enter your username and password to confirm your account.
  5. Confirming the account will automatically lead you to the individual expression/s of interest linked to your organization account. Valid ID picture and passport copies are requested (please read below the requirements).
  6. If you have problems or cannot submit the individual expression of interest, you can always come back to this page, and sign in with your username and password to submit the individual expression of interest.
  7. Final confirmation for participation will be sent in the dates hereunder indicated.

Photo ID requirements

  • Plain white background.
  • Full face frontal view with open eyes.
  • No shadows on the face or in the background.
  • Recent. Maximum 6 months old.
  • Size: 24 mm (width) x 32 mm (height) or 195 pixels (width) x 255 pixels (height).
  • Accepted formats: gif, jpg, jpeg
  • Weight: Maximum 100kb

Passport copy requirements

  • Accepted formats: pdf, gif, jpg, jpeg.
  • Weight: Maximum 100kb

Please note that:

  • The deadline for expression of interest is 23.59 Rome time on 16 April 2016.
  • Each applicant will receive an email from FAO informing whether one’s expression of interest to attend the Technical Meeting has been approved or not between 20 and 22 April 2016.
  • The total number of seats for non-state participants is limited.
  • Participants should be able to cover their travel and accommodation costs and take care of related arrangements.
  • There is a possibility for FAO to support travel and accommodation costs for some participants from the civil society organizations and/or cooperatives/producer organizations and/or cooperatives/producer organizations that are eligible for funding. Priority will be given to participants coming from least developed countries fulfilling both common and specific criteria set in the criteria section. FAO will not be able to provide financial support to students.

2.Criteria for participation

2.Criteria for participation

Common criteria

Common criteria for participation of representatives of the different sectors should be that their work and/or mandate is relevant to the scope and focus of the Technical Meeting. Non-state actors and experts should play significant roles in the areas of 1) food safety and quality, 2) analytical aspects of genome sequencing, 3) IT related issues relevant to food safety and/or genome sequencing, 4) data generation, collection and sharing and 5) other related legitimate issues.

Specific criteria

Specific criteria for the different groups of non-state actors include:

Private Sector

  • Type of actor (to ensure that private sector associations/multinational/national companies who are involved in developing and/or using genome sequencing technologies/techniques/data and private sectors/national companies engaged in the application of the product are represented).
  • Geographic representation (to ensure that all regions are represented).
  • Type of business (to ensure that the food production, food safety sectors and other sectors including analytical sector and IT sector are represented).

Civil Society

  • Relevance to FAO’s mandate and to the scope/focus of the Technical Meeting: The civil society organization’s (CSO) mandate or work should include science and technology, including genomics, food safety and quality and is committed to FAO’s mandate to reduce poverty and eliminate food insecurity worldwide. The CSO has a demonstrated commitment to be involved in dealing with food safety and food security issues.
  • Independence: The work of the CSO is autonomous and not subject to external influence. Its sources of funding are transparent and free from any stringent condition that could weaken its action and undermine its legitimacy as an independent actor of change.
  • Transparency: The CSO demonstrates a consistent pattern of making decisions and implementing actions in accordance with internal rules, norms and regulations that are known and understood by all concerned. Adequate information about decisions and actions is freely and constantly provided in accessible ways and in forms that are easily understood by all concerned.
  • A balanced representation in terms of geography, gender, age and constituencies represented, in accordance with the “Guidelines for ensuring balanced representation of civil society in FAO meetings and processes” will be sought.

Research/academic institutions – representatives

  • Type of actor (ensure that different organizations and research centers are represented).
  • Type of institution (covering the genomics, genome sequencing technology, food safety, food quality, food production or any relevant food and agriculture sectors).
  • Has recognized expertise in genomics and food safety, specifically related to food microbiology and food safety management or institutional aspects.
  • Be an accredited institution of higher learning and research. Enjoy academic freedom, institutional autonomy and has transparency in its governance and funding.

Research/academic institutions – students

In addition to representatives of research/academic institutions, a small number of seats will be allocated to MSc/PhD students. Criteria for selecting these students will include

  • relevance of their research work to the scope/focus of the Technical Meeting;
  • geographical and gender balance;
  • research should be carried out in an accredited institution of higher learning and research;
  • sector of research (food safety, genomics, bioinformatics, food microbiology or any other relevant topics);
  • experience or willingness in ‘reporting’ from a Technical Meeting using social medium

Cooperatives and producer organizations

  • Representation (affiliation to one of the major global or regional organizations).
  • Geographical and gender balance.
  • Mandate/work includes science and technology relevant to food safety and/or genome sequencing