The second and third days of the CCLAC Codex colloquium, co-organised by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Coordination for the Codex Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (CCLAC): Costa Rica and the United States Department of Agriculture (US DA), held at the headquarters of IICA concluded today March 6th, 2014.
Review of Agenda items of major upcoming meetings
Participants had a chance to engage in extensive discussions on agenda items currently identified for major upcoming Codex committees: Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR), Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food (CCCF), Codex Committee on General Principles (CCGP) etc
Delegations were able to exchange their views on these items with the purpose to help them prepare national positions.
Promoting Effective participation / Mitigate language barriers
Members discussed measures to enhance effective participation from the region. In particular, the issue of timely availability of Codex documents in Spanish was raised. Participants also expressed their concern over their inability to systematically contribute effectively in electronic Working Groups (WGs), if these WGs are held in English only. Amongst the ideas that were suggested to mitigate this issue was to have members of the region volunteer to co-chair the e-WG of interest, with the intent to enable availability of documents in Spanish (by the member country from the region, co-chairing) and therefore foster participation into the e-WG in Spanish. The same approach could apply for other languages as warranted. Having members take turns in assuming this function would help share the burden/costs and support the region to be more effectively represented in these proceedings.
Discussion of implementation of the Codex strategic plan and other matters:
Participants had also the opportunity to discuss in groups and at plenary, some aspects related to the implementation of the Codex Strategic Plan 2014-19 and concrete contributions from the region to support such implementation.
Having been given the opportunity to either observe or contribute in the colloquium work, I have appreciated the level of engagement, investment and commitment of participants from the region to Codex proceedings, the importance of Codex’s work and its impact on food regulatory and standard setting activities in the region. I have also witnessed how an effective regional coordination, such as that demonstrated by the Codex team from Costa Rica, as the regional coordinator, can lead to increased members’ awareness of major issues and challenges and foster their involvement and active contribution in Codex work.
This meeting gave me the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss our upcoming food standard setting priorities in Codex with Dr. Gilherme Costa (Brazil), candidate for the Vice Chair position of the CAC.
I appreciated the generous and gracious hospitality of IICA as the host organisation, supported by the US DA and Costa Rica as the regional coordinator. Meeting organisers and participants are to be congratulated for a very well-run and attended colloquium and a flawless and efficient organisation. A very successful event.