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Members endorse a virtual session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission


Today Codex Secretary Tom Heilandt confirmed that the Codex Alimentarius Commission will hold its first ever virtual meeting in 2020. The 43rd Session of CAC, originally planned for July in Rome, will now take place in cyberspace while respecting the values of inclusivity and transparency of Codex.

One hundred and thirty six Codex Members had endorsed the virtual session by the deadline of 23rd August (CET) exceeding the two thirds majority required for the virtual session to go ahead. “This is an amazing result, and I want to extend my appreciation to all Codex Members who have quickly responded to our letter proposing a virtual meeting of the Commission, especially as many countries are still battling with the COVID-19 pandemic and it is still a holiday period in many parts of the world. This clearly shows the importance Codex Members give to advancing standards that ensure food safety and fair practices in the food trade, and perhaps especially during the pandemic”, said Heilandt. While only Members were required to endorse a virtual CAC43, the Codex Secretariat also received numerous letters of support from Observers for the virtual session.

Codex recently successfully concluded a virtual session of the Executive Committee which also established a sub-committee to address the ongoing challenges and opportunities for Codex during the pandemic. Convening a virtual session of the Commission is a critical step to ensuring work continuity in the current period. The Commission will discuss adoption of standards and new work proposals as well as take other decisions to ensure work can continue without losing too much momentum. “We will not rest after a successful implementation of the Commission but will work intensively with FAO, WHO, Members and Observers on systems and procedures that will make Codex more resilient to any crisis that prevents physical meetings in the future”, said Heilandt.

Guilherme da Costa, Chairperson of the Commission expressed his gratitude for the commitment, confidence, flexibility, and support the Members had shown for Codex work by endorsing this virtual session of the Commission. Da Costa said “I had full confidence that the Members would endorse this proposal. We have reduced the agenda for this virtual session to focus on priority issues. The Vice-Chairpersons and I will be relying on the usual cooperation of all Members and Observers to ensure that we can complete it within the time available”.

The virtual session of the Commission will meet on 24, 25 and 26 September and 12 October for discussion of the agenda and 19 October 2020 for adoption of the report. The Codex Secretariat is organizing a webinar for all Members and Observers on 11 September 2020 to provide further guidance on participation in the virtual session and sensitize members to the approach. More details on the webinar will be available in early September.

Learn More

CAC43 webpage