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East African Community Online Training on Codex enhances knowledge and skills


By Hakim Baligeya Mufumbiro
Uganda National Bureau of Standards
Coordinator for the Codex African Region

Partner States in the East African Community (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda) participated in an online training on Codex Electronic Working Platform and Online Commenting System from 28 to 30 April 2021 as one of the capacity building activities to enhance the skill and knowledge of stakeholders in the region in order to better engage and participate in the Codex activities. Considering the impacts that have been occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic on every sphere of life, Codex stakeholders in the EAC had to adapt quickly to the new environment, implementing the use of online tools to actively participate in Codex work and ensure consumer health.

EAC Group photo

Online training for EAC

The Codex Secretariat has held training sessions in different regions and regularly showcases Codex online tools at the Commission and during technical committees. Webinars for individual countries tailored to users’ requests have also proved popular and invaluable for those delegations who are not always able to attend Codex events.

Up to 37 stakeholders drawn from Government, Private sector and Consumer Associations as well as the EAC Secretariat participated in the 3-day training event that was facilitated by the Codex Secretariat and Regional Consultants and supported by FAO and WHO in the region.

Hakim Mufumbiro

The training provided deeper insights into Codex and its work mechanisms highlighting the procedures and processes for development of Codex Standards, scientific advice as the basis for setting of standards and the direction of international standards development as espoused in the Codex Strategic Plan (2020-2025). Detailed practical application of the online tools was the central focus of the training with the objective to spur regional engagement in the Codex process through the established structures. The Parent Organizations (FAO and WHO) also provides highlights of the interventions being undertaken with specific focus on capacity building initiatives related to Food Safety and Codex in region. Priorities of the CCAFRICA region most especially the work plan for implementation of the Codex Strategic Plan were shared with the trainees.

The Codex Secretariat emphasized that the Codex website is the starting point towards participation in the work of Codex. The website contains diverse information on Codex including general and historical information, Codex standards and procedures for participation. Also deployed on the Codex website are dynamic tools, which enable the Codex community to participate in the ongoing work of Codex, and these include Circular Letters (CLs); Online Commenting System (OCS); Electronic Working Group (EWG) platform; Online registration system (ORS). Indeed, the website is constructed to fulfil the pillars of global standardization - openness, voluntary participation, and use of the latest available information (in this case scientific information).

The trainees found the training very educative and eye opening for the majority that had not interfaced with Codex systems. There was interest to cascade such training activities to other wider stakeholder categories within the respective Partner States as well as through the Regional Economic Communities in Africa. One of the lessons learnt was that massive opportunities exist for engaging actors in the region by leveraging on available technologies.

EAC Rwanda

Trainees in Rwanda

It is important, not to only to participate but to effectively participate in Codex activities and have the ability to significantly contribute to the discussions and ultimately impact and influence the outcomes. It is through participation that the needs of developing countries like those in the EAC are listened to and possibly considered during the development of Codex documents and related deliverables. The representatives of the six Partner States committed to further engage stakeholders at the national level with a view to widely disseminate the use and application of the Codex online tools.

EAC Burundi

Trainees in Burundi

Through the established EAC Codex Forum, there will be continued building of a pool of stakeholders who are able to follow and effectively participate in the work of Codex.

The CCAFRICA Coordinator underscored in the training the important need for all the Partner States in the EAC to take advantage of the planned capacity building events in the region in order to increase their visibility and engagement in the Codex processes.


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Requests for webinars are always welcome by the Codex Secretariat. Send an email to [email protected]