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COVID-19 / Maintaining the momentum of Codex work


COVID-19 and the related response from governments across the globe has led to the postponement or cancellation of numerous Codex subsidiary body meetings scheduled to be held in 2020.

However, food safety remains an important issue and the Codex Secretariat is working together with Host Secretariats, Chairs of Committees and Chairs/Vice-Chairs of Electronic Working Groups (EWGs) to ensure that the standards development work can continue even if the committees cannot meet this year.

Tom Heilandt, Codex Secretary confirmed that electronic working groups - the technical teams that draft many Codex texts between committee sessions ­­- will continue to work as necessary under the terms of reference established by the individual committees, and report to the next session of the relevant subsidiary body. Deadlines for comments on work items will be extended where appropriate. 

Approaches will need to remain flexible.

“Approaches will need to remain flexible”, said Heilandt, and adapted to the needs of each committee. “We will publish all updates on the meeting webpages on the Codex website as new information becomes available for each committee”, he said.

“COVID-19 is pushing all of us to adapt to new working mechanisms. The Codex Secretariat welcomes the opportunity for work to continue even though formal sessions have had to be cancelled and will explore all methods of working electronically, in collaboration with countries leading the work, to progress as many items and topics before the next physical meeting of these committees”.


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List of scheduled Codex meetings

Listen to Tom Heilandt discussing meeting schedules