WTO: 2008 NEWS ITEMS

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About 200 delegates participated in the workshop on tools for evaluating developing countries’ capacity to meet international sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards, organized by the Standards and Trade Development Faciltiy (STDF), a multi-agency initiative set up to help developing countries in this area.

The workshop looked at 10 different tools for evaluating developing countries’ capacity to meet SPS standards. These have been developed by various international organizations and include tools designed for specific sectors and those that apply more broadly to food safety and animal and plant health.

Participants generally agreed that they would try to ensure different approaches are able to work together more effectively, while at the same time allowing the approaches to be adapted to the specific needs of countries receiving assistance.

The workshop concluded that a large amount of data is being created, but it is not being compiled and shared well enough. With the focus on tools for evaluating countries’ capacity to meet standards, the workshop also concluded that the evaluations themselves should be monitored more carefully to see how effective they are at producing results such as additional funding or improved food safety or animal or plant health.

The Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) is a joint initiative of the World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Organization for Animal Health and Food and Agriculture Organization. The facility acts as a forum for sharing information on past, present and planned technical co-operation activities related to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. It also provides grant financing for projects and for the preparation of projects aiming to enhance developing countries’ capacity to meet SPS standards.

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