Workshop on Transparency

“The Secretariat of the World Trade Organization organized a special workshop on the transparency provisions of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), which was held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 12-13 October 2015. The workshop was followed by informal and formal meetings of the SPS Committee, lasting until Friday, 16 October 2015.


Representatives of Members, Observers and Observer Organizations were invited to participate in the transparency workshop as well as the subsequent meetings of the Committee.

The workshop was intended to be a highly interactive, “hands-on” event. It included training on the use of the SPS Information Management System (SPS IMS) and the improved on-line submission system of SPS notifications (SPS NSS). Moreover, it provided a forum for discussion and experience sharing on developments, challenges and practices in the area of SPS transparency.

The WTO, with the financial assistance of the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund (DDAGTF), sponsored the participation of approximately 50 government officials from developing country Members and Observers. The Secretariat selected sponsored participants among applications from government officials in charge of the implementation of the transparency provisions of the SPS Agreement. In addition, the African Union made it possible for 25 participants from French- and English-speaking Africa to participate in the workshop while 12 delegates from Caribbean countries attended with assistance from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).”

The programme and the report of the workshop are contained in documents G/SPS/GEN/1446 and G/SPS/R/80, respectively.


Day 1 — Monday, 12 October 2015

Opening remarks by Mr Felipe Hees, Chair of the SPS Committee
Monday, 12 October, 10.00-10.15

Overview of the workshop and its objectives

SESSION 1: Introduction
Monday, 12 October, 10.15-10.45

SESSION 2: WTO sources of information
Monday, 12 October, 10.45-11.45

Session 3: Practical session on the use of the SPS IMS
Monday, 12 October, 12.00-13.30

Working groups were organised in English, French and Spanish during which participants were able to use the current SPS IMS system.

Lunch Break

SESSION 4: Sharing of national experiences

Monday, 12 October, 15.00-18.00


Day 2 — Tuesday, 13 October 2015

10.00-10.15: Opening Remarks

SESSION 5: 20 Years of Transparency
Tuesday, 13 October, 10.15-10.45

SESSION 6: Overview of the SPS NSS
Tuesday, 13 October, 10.15-10.45

Session 7: Practical session on how to prepare notifications (SPS NSS)
Tuesday, 13 October, 11.30-13.00

Working groups were organised in English, French and Spanish during which participants were able to use the new SPS NSS system

  • Introduction: How to use the new SPS NSS and how to fill in a notification form
  • SPS NSS hands-on exercise

Lunch break

SESSION 8: Improving the implementation and benefits of SPS transparency provisions
Tuesday, 13 October, 14.30-16.15

17:30–18:00 Session 9: Conclusions