In less than 4 months, on July 15th, 2014, the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission will be electing a new chair for the upcoming period.
I have been humbled by the decision of the Government of Canada to nominate me as Canada’s candidate for this role. Canada has a long standing support for Codex, as a founding member of the organisation in 1963. Canada continues to be a strong advocate of Codex’s mandate to protect consumers’ health worldwide and to ensure fair practices in the food trade.
I accepted this nomination as a result of my strong belief in Canada’s commitment to providing collaborative and impartial leadership to Codex, and as a result of my keen interest in further contributing, in collaboration with peers and colleagues of the Codex community, to advancing global food safety and quality.
Serving as a vice chair of the commission for the last couple of years has been one of the key highlights of my 17 year career associated with food safety and nutrition. This unique opportunity provided me with the privilege to interact with and learn from food safety leaders from around the world.
Working with such a dedicated and passionate group of food safety, food quality and nutrition professionals in Codex for over a decade, has significantly contributed to my own development and experience as a food scientist and a food regulator. In particular, and as I worked to facilitate the development and adoption of Codex’s strategic plan for 2014-19, I was able to appreciate that despite the differences of opinion and the variety of positions that we may have, we are all united by common principles of evidence-based decision-making and by a common goal to protect consumers’ health and create a level playing field for food trade.
How do I see the Chair’s role:
I consider assuming the chair’s role of an organisation such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission as a commitment to serve the codex membership through active engagement and decisive action, in alignment with the mandate of the Commission.
Serving the membership means to actively seek and listen to members’ interests and concerns and shape the direction based on their insights and input. It also means facilitating and steering the dialogue between members and fostering their engagement in Codex decision-making processes in a manner that upholds Codex’s mandate and Codex’s principles and advances our efforts to develop international food standards that serve as a reference for food regulators and food producers around the world.
I will be using this medium and other posts to share some of my thoughts and views on the responsibilities and duties of the Chairperson of Codex, considering the environment in which Codex is currently evolving. I continue to welcome your input and suggestions either via this blog or by visiting CanadaForCodex.com