Page tools

CCNASWP addressing implementation of the Codex Strategic Plan during the pandemic


Representatives of countries of the North America and South West Pacific (NASWP) region met virtually on 23 November 2020 to update the regional work-plan for implementation of the Codex Strategic Plan until CCNASWP will reconvene, tentatively early 2022. Addressing over 25 participants, in opening remarks Vice-Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Steve Wearne, UK, said “all Members had a voice in the adoption of the new Strategic Plan and all Codex actors now have a shared responsibility for its implementation”.

Delegations from countries in the region supported by FAO, WHO, the Codex Trust Fund (CTF) Secretariat and the Codex Secretariat worked together online to update the regional work plan and set priorities for implementation.

“It was rewarding to see the engagement and enthusiasm among the Member Countries and their sense of ownership and dedication”, said Hilde Kruse, Senior Food Standards Officer in the Codex Secretariat.

Dirk Schulz is a Food Safety Assessment Officer in FAO. “This was a great opportunity to network with the Codex teams of the region, help facilitate a smooth transition between the previous and new Regional Coordinators and plan actions for the imminent future,” he said.

Working towards strategic goals

Goal 1 of the Codex Strategic Plan aims to address current, emerging and critical issues in a timely manner. The region will intensify work on noni juice and establish a network among the Pacific Islands to identify new issues that should be brought to CCNASWP attention.

Simone Raszl, WHO Technical Officer for Food Safety, Health Security and Emergencies based in the Philippines said: “The meeting was a great opportunity to reflect on the ways to keep Codex working under the new normal in the Western Pacific Region.”

Participants discussed opportunities for linking to capacity building work supported by FAO and WHO and it was agreed to hold a regional virtual workshop on expert scientific advice in March 2021, which will include relevant case-studies from the Pacific Islands sub-region, such as the development of the regional standard for noni juice. This aligns with Goal 2 on developing standards based on science and Codex risk based principles. The group also agreed to identify a case-study on implementation and use of a relevant standard at national levels, which falls under Goal 3 on increasing impact through the recognition and use of Codex standards.

“It was amazing to learn that CCNASWP members are spread over 14 time zones, but that did not in any way diminish their strong commitment to sit together and work out the milestones for the Codex Strategic Plan,” said Sridhar Dharmapuri, Senior Food Safety and Nutrition Officer in the FAO Asia Pacific regional office.

The FAO/WHO Codex Trust Fund renewed its commitment to facilitate the participation of CCNASWP Members in Codex, agreeing to convene a virtual training session on the use of the FAO/WHO Diagnostic Tool for Assessing Status of National Codex Programmes, which supports Goal 4 on facilitating the participation of all Codex Members throughout the standard setting process. “This workshop was an important opportunity for members of the region to define and strengthen their part of the Codex work plan,” said Rob Lynam, Administrator of the Trust Fund.

In 2020, Samoa and Tonga were each successful in being granted a CTF project. Other eligible countries were encouraged to apply in the current call for CTF projects applications, which has a deadline of 15 December 2020. “Support for capacity-building by FAO and WHO including the CTF is very much appreciated”, said Kruse.


Did you know?

The NASWP region covers 14 time zones. This illustrates the time zone challenge when conducting a virtual meeting. At this meeting, some participants were working late Sunday evening and others Monday morning or afternoon.

Read the Codex Strategic Plan 2020-2025