The Strategic Plan 2014-19 adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission membership at its last commission meeting in 2013 reaffirmed the importance of capacity building initiatives dedicated to strengthen Codex structures, support participation and engagement of developing countries and ensure that Codex standards are truly global with an effective contribution from all countries, including developing countries. A specific Strategic Goal (Strategic Goal 3: Facilitate effective participation of all codex members) was dedicated to this purpose. Similar endeavours are also to be pursued under Strategic Goal 2, with the objective to ensure that scientific evidence supporting Codex standards be provided by as many members as possible.
Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in two capacity building initiatives recently held in Canada and the United States, where I was honored to contribute to the scientific and technical program developed by the organizers.
The APEC / Health Canada / FARRP Capacity building initiative on food allergen management was held in Vancouver, British Columbia – Canada, from May 4-8, 2014. I was particularly honoured to contribute to the May 4th session dedicated to introduce the issue of food allergen management as an emerging area of concern that requires added attention by all stakeholders: food industry across the entire supply chain, food regulators and consumers. This session was followed by the Health Canada / FARRP Food Allergen Methodologies Workshop. Canada was supported by several APEC economies to enable participation of a broader audience of food regulators from the Asia Pacific Region to the workshop. A record attendance was registered for this session of the Workshop, which is now considered a regular hub gathering food allergen experts from around the world.
On May 14-15th, 2014, I was also honoured to contribute to the US Codex Partnership initiative, a capacity building activity gathering Codex representatives from around the world, in Washington DC (USA). I had the opportunity to discuss with the workshop participants the various steps that led us to develop and adopt by consensus the Codex strategic plan 2014-19. The workshop was an invaluable opportunity to meet and exchange views with Codex representatives and colleagues from Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia/ Pacific and Africa on Codex activities, upcoming challenges and opportunities of enhanced collaboration.