This newly-designed technical assistance activity directly followed the meeting of the SPS Committee on 8-11 November, which participants were invited to attend. The activity provided an opportunity for participants to get a behind-the-scenes experience of the SPS Committee and to speak with key actors of the committee. Participants also exchanged national experiences and created a network of French-speaking SPS experts from African countries.
Some participants shared their views on the activity and the importance of SPS Committee participation:
“It was interesting and convivial. In addition to the knowledge I have acquired, this course has put me in touch with the SPS Committee and allowed me to join an effective professional network. This exchange has shown me that, behind the rules, the benefits are priceless.” Ms Asma LAZGHAB, Official Veterinarian, Border Control, Directorate-General of Veterinary Services, Tunisia.
“I've been able to immerse myself in the workings of the SPS Committee, a genuine forum for resolving trade issues among Members. The SPS Agreement is more than just a text; it has become a sort of ‘Bible’ for me that I now understand better and that I am ready to make known to different economic actors in Benin.” Mr Joël Agossou, Head of Unit, Directorate of International Economic and Trade Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Benin.
“My involvement with the SPS Committee has prepared me for taking on the SPS challenges of the modern world, because I am a key element for my country and French-speaking Africa in general.” Mr François Félix Gandji Mossi, Head of the Support Component for Improving the Quality of Cocoa Products, Cocoa Development Support Project, Directorate of Agricultural Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cameroon.
“The course was very valuable and very useful, both from a theoretical and practical standpoint. I particularly appreciated the interactions with various colleagues from the participating French-speaking African countries. I am convinced that this type of activity, organized by the WTO, will boost the participation of these countries in the work of the SPS Committee, including the current discussions on SPS issues further to MC12.” Mr Abdelkarim MOUJANNI, Head of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Surveillance and Market Access, Directorate of Risk Assessment and Legal Affairs, National Office of Food Safety, Morocco.
The Chair of the SPS Committee discussed his exchanges with participants in the course:
“This course helped participants understand the SPS Agreement and the work of the Committee. The participants were active and asked me many questions. In answering their questions, not only did I give them a better understanding of the Chair's role, but I also learned about their expectations of the Committee.” Mr Tang-Kai Wang (Chinese Taipei), Chair of the SPS Committee.
The course was organized by the SPS section of the WTO’s Agriculture and Commodities Division and the Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation. Participants in the first edition of this course were government officials with direct responsibilities in SPS matters.
More information on Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures can be found here.