Global authority to assist in food safety


Countries in North America and the South West Pacific, including Papua New Guinea, have been urged to collaborate fully with the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).
The insightful global knowledge, experience, expertise and networking of CAC as a global authority and reference on setting food standards makes CAC the preferred development partner of countries in these two regions of the world.
PNG’s Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Tommy Tomscoll, said this in his keynote address at the 14th Session of the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for North America and South West Pacific (CCNASWP) held in Port Vila, Vanuatu, last month.
Tomscoll delivered his address on the multi-sectoral aspects of Codex and opportunities for strengthening Codex as a means to contribute to development of the economic, trade, agriculture, health and nutrition sectors.
Tomscoll told delegates from eleven member countries and international organisations that the issues, problems, opportunities and challenges faced by people in the North America and South West Pacific regions might be deemed local, but certainly inter-linked internationally, because many of these issues emanated from policy decisions of foreign governments.
He said for each country to resolve these issues and problems, and take advantage of opportunities, they must collaborate with global actors like CAC to develop integrated solutions specific to each country.
Tomscoll said the people of North America and South West Pacific region wanted to achieve high internal human development, had equal opportunity to participate and benefit from development, and politically and economically independent to ensuring their freedom to make decisions and choices.
Many countries are facing the impacts of climate change, environment change, population increase, impact public policy, food security, food risk, and food trade.
They also face decline in arable land, land capacity, decline in ecosystem functions, rising water and temperature, fresh water decline, and others which affect human habitation.
The social, geopolitical and economic consequences are already felt by people of the small island states and small economy states in North America and South West Pacific.
These states are no longer dependent, they are to a smaller degree interdependent, but largely are now dependent on countries with large economies, and with economic scales of production, specialised skill capacity and innovative technology for sustainability, and they require foreign aid money to fund their activities.
Small economies are continually the subject of unfair and deceptive food trade practises whereby big economies impose excessive food standard measures that deny small countries market access.Tomscoll also stated that many of the poor population also live in the regions of North America and South West Pacific. They spend 60 to 70 per cent of their income buying imported food and therefore have little to no savings to escape poverty.
Food security, food safety and food trade agendas strike at the heart of development and economic growth. They affect the ability of countries to achieve the sustainable development goals.
Tomscoll said the development issues countries face today were both multi-dimensional and cross cutting in nature.
As a result of this situational arrangement, countries in North America and South West Pacific need CAC as a forum to voice their concerns and CAC as their mouth piece and proxy to represent them at conferences where these small economies cannot afford to be present.
Small economies greatly benefit from the coordinated actions, investments and profession competencies of CAC.
Tomscoll said for many small countries and small economies, CAC was a blink of light at the end of the tunnel offering hope for humanity.
The Chairperson of CAC, Awilo Ochieng Pernet, who is based in Switzerland, in her speech stated that she was looking for Codex champions, were people like Tomscoll, who are committed to protecting the health of consumers and ensuring fair trade, to personally assist by advocating with and informing other ministers on the importance of food safety and Codex at meetings and conferences and to put forward food safety and Codex on the agenda.

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