WTO: 2008 NEWS ITEMS

Full coverage of the workshop

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about SPS’s “three sisters” — the international standards-setting bodies:
> Codex Alimentarius
> World Organization for Animal Health
> International Plant Protection Convention

The workshop took place at a time when governments and international organizations are donating more money to help developing countries apply so-called sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) (food safety and animal and plant health) standards. These standards are in turn becoming more prominent partly because traditional trade barriers such as tariffs are being lowered.

Developing countries need assistance to meet more stringent requirements in their export markets and they and the donors are looking for ways to make the assistance more effective.

The workshop focused on applying the “Paris Principles” agreed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2005. These include prescribed actions and indicators to measure how effective assistance is, and are based on ownership, alignment, harmonisation, managing for results, and accountability.

Its aim was:

(i) to identify “good practice” as it applies specifically to technical assistance projects related to SPS in three pilot regions and to identify elements that can be applied again in future assistance;

(ii) to review the experience of applying good practice at the national or regional level;

(iii) to discuss what is required from donors, development agencies and beneficiaries in order to disseminate and implement the identified good practices more widely; and

(iv) to discuss how to maximize the impact of technical assistance related to SPS on trade performance.

The workshop was organized by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) — a joint initiative of the World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Organization for Animal Health and Food and Agriculture Organization — in collaboration with the OECD and the WTO Secretariat.

About 60 participants attended through funding by the WTO Secretariat and the STDF.

What is the STDF?
The Standards and Trade Development Facility 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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