UNIDO was invited to present its capacity building approach related to voluntary third-party assurance (vTPA) programmes as part of a thematic session initiated by Belize in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Committee of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This session also proved the fact that UNIDO’s Food Safety Approach adequately covers the development and application of food safety schemes and related enabling environment in developing countries.
A thematic session in the SPS Committee was fully dedicated to the domain of vTPA and its potentials, preceded by a UNIDO webinar held on 6 June 2020 during this year’s World Accreditation Day. After regulators elaborating on the potentials and current applications of the vTPA approach on 3 November, prominent members of the development community have presented some possible solutions. As part of the afternoon session, a scrolling story co-developed by Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) and UNIDO based on a survey circulated this year among food regulators was showcased to the participants. “It’s quite interesting also to show the correlations across different questions and responses from which we can learn as well. This is something new and innovative, and we are especially grateful to UNIDO for that” said Marlynne Hopper, Deputy Head of the STDF during her presentation, referring to this data visualization. During the same session, Ali Badarneh, Chief of the Sustainable Food Systems Division presented UNIDO’s approach on implementing the vTPA programmes in developing countries and stated the following: “vTPA programmes are essential elements for food businesses to enhance their compliance. As African countries aim to advance their food safety capacities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the vTPA approach offers great potential. The West Africa pilot, funded by STDF, will generate new knowledge and lessons for a potential wider application in the near future.”
Simultaneously, UNIDO has also commenced the implementation of a regional pilot project in this domain in West Africa, focusing on Senegal and Mali. The project objective is to use of voluntary third-party assurance programmes to improve food safety outcomes aims to pilot and learn how regulatory authorities in Mali and Senegal can make use of data and information generated by voluntary third-party assurance (vTPA) programmes to improve food safety outcomes based on Codex principles and guidelines. Identical to the scope of the West Africa pilot, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) is implementing an initiative for Central America, targeting Belize and Honduras.
Check the scrolling story on the vTPA survey by clicking here.
Read more and watch UNIDO-STDF webinar on vTPA programmes by clicking here.