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Near East Coordinator reflects on a four-year hiatus for the regional committee


This year's edition of the CODEX magazine, titled "60 years of standards", is out now! Read some of our articles online and click on the link below to download the full publication.

This article by Khalid Al Zhrani (Saudi Arabia), Regional Coordinator for the Near East
After a gap of 4 years due mainly to the Codex pandemic and the challenge of finding space on the calendar, CCNE11 brought the latest round of Coordinating Committees to a close. The Regional Coordinator looks back on the past year, which highlights that even though they hadn’t had the opportunity to meet, the region was still very active.

The year 2023 has been a highly active and significant year for the region, particularly due to the 60th anniversary of the Codex Alimentarius. The CCNE Secretariat and Member Countrieshave demonstrated commendable efforts by organizing numerous meetings aimed at capacity building andthe exchange of information and positions among Member Countries. These discussions encompassed various agenda items of multiple Codex committees. Additionally, there has been noteworthy collaboration between the CAC Chairperson, Vice-Chairpersons, and the CCNE, as they conducted a consultative meeting to address the proposed draft maximum limits for zilpaterol hydrochloride. Furthermore, the Near EastMember Countrieseagerly sought to engage with other regions, facilitating discussions that would take place during CAC46. Consequently, consultative meetings were successfully conducted.

In line with the commitment to celebrate World Food Safety Day, Member Countriesundertook several activities to raise awareness about the importance of food safety and the role of standards in safeguarding lives. The Regional Coordinator organized a session that brought together Codex experts, academia, and representatives from the health sector to emphasize the significance of food standards. During World Food Safety Day celebrations, Members of the region extended their congratulations to Codex on its 60th anniversary and expressed gratitude for its role in setting standards to ensure food safety and facilitate trade.

Various countries in the region celebrated the 60th anniversary of Codex during national events.For instance, Iran's National Standards Organization (INSO), organized an event titled "The Future of Food Safety" in Tehran, which coincided with World Food Safety Day. Moreover, Egypt marked its 50th and CODEX 60th anniversaries in Cairo. Oman also actively participated in the celebration while holding the Oman International Conference on Food Safety and Quality. Saudi Arabia also celebrated the Codex 60th anniversary on the margins of its World Food Safety Day observances.

Undoubtedly, one of the most significant events of the year was the hosting of the 11th session of the CCNE,led by Saudi Arabia at FAO headquarters in Rome,18–22September.During this session, the Committee made important decisions, including advancing the Proposed Draft Standard for Maamoulto CAC46 for adoption at Step 5. Additionally, the Committee agreed to establishan EWG to consider how to optimally support implementation of the Codex Strategic Plan for the years 2023-2025. 

Overall, the year 2023 has been marked by extensive efforts, collaborations and celebrations within the region in honour of the 60th anniversary of Codex. The commitment and enthusiasm displayed by Member Countries, the successful organization of meetings, and the substantial progress made during the CCNE Committee session underscore the region's dedication to food safety. 

Download the CODEX magazine