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SADC Member States trained on the use and application of Codex e-tools


By Hakim Mufumbiro
Regional Coordinator for the African Region

A total of 12 Member States within the SADC - Southern African Development Community (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe) as well as the SADC Secretariat participated virtually in an online training on the Codex Electronic Working Group Platform and Online Commenting System from 25 to 27 May 2022, as one of the capacity building activities to enhance the skills and knowledge of stakeholders in the region in order to better engage and participate in Codex activities. A Codex Observer, International Council of Beverages Association also attended the online training.

Patrick Sekitoleko from the Codex Secretariat during the opening emphasized that the Codex website is the starting point towards improving participation of the region in the work of Codex. He highlighted that the website contains diverse information on Codex including general and historical information, Codex standards and procedures for participation. Also deployed on 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 Codex Secretariat has held training sessions 2021 in different regions such as East African Community and Economic Commission of West African States 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.

Mr. Chiluba Mwape representing the SADC Secretariat underscored the need for Members in the region to take advantage of the capacity building events in order to enhance engagement in the Codex processes whose outputs have a significant impact on trade and health of consumers as envisaged in the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (or "SPS Agreement").

Up to 50 stakeholders drawn from Government, Private sector and Consumer Associations participated in the three-day training event that was facilitated by the Codex Secretariat and Regional Consultants and supported by African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources and FAO and WHO Regional Offices for Africa.

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 EWG Platform and OCS was the central focus of the training with the objective to spur regional engagement in the Codex process through the established structures.

FAO and WHO Regional Offices for Africa represented by Ms. Cecilia Akita and Ms. Mwamakamba Lusubilo respectively provided highlights of the interventions being undertaken to support members in the region with specific focus on capacity building initiatives related to Food Safety and Codex. The training also presented an opportunity to share the priorities of CCAFRICA (2020-2022) most especially activities identified in the work plan for implementation of the Codex Strategic Plan as well as ongoing work within CAC and CCEXEC.

A sizable number of trainees indicated that were interfacing with the tools for the first time and found the online training very educative and eye opening. There was interest to cascade such training activities to other wider stakeholder categories within the respective Member States as well as through the Regional Economic Communities in Africa. One of the lessons learnt was that there exists massive opportunities of engaging actors in the region by leveraging on available technologies.

It is important 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 SADC are listened to and possibly considered during the development of Codex documents and related deliverables. The representatives of the 12 Member 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.

Mr. Malose Daniel Matlala speaking on behalf of the trainees appreciated the initiative and rallied the Member States to use and apply the tools as well as share widely the information obtained with other national stakeholders. As a take away, the Member States pledged to deploy the tools within the respective national Codex structures.

The CCAFRICA Coordinator re-echoed in the training the important need for all the Member States in the SADC Region to take advantage of the planned capacity building events in the region in order to increase their visibility and engagement in the Codex processes. He finally emphasized that the training activity held contributes to Goal 4 in the Codex Strategic Plan that relates to facilitation of the participation of all Codex members throughout the standard setting process.


Learn more

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

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Photo top row: Zimbabwe Team; Regional consultants in session (R-L: Prof. George Nasinyama and Mr. Moses Matovu)

Bottom row: Dr. (Mrs) Shalini A. Neeliah, Codex Contact Point, Mauritius; Mr. Sabelo Masuku, Eswatini; Ms. Tebogo Tshipana, South Africa; CCAFRICA Coordinator, Mr. Hakim Mufumbiro,