Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - FAO / WHO / WTO / Codex - 2017

Codex News Item, 27 September 2017

CODEX - As a group we have much to achieve

As the Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission began its three-day meeting in Rome, new Chair, Mr Guilherme da Costa, spoke of the goals for Codex under his leadership.

I believe in working together as a group and we have much to achieve.

Guilherme spoke of the need to prioritise and firstly to build together the new strategic plan (2020-2025) which will give Codex the base to develop its work moving forward. One fundamental element will be strengthening participation of members which can only lead to better results for the organization in terms of its mandate to protect human health and promote fair practices in food trade.

Strong national Codex committees will lead to better participation and involvement from those across the production chain who need and use Codex standards. 

Practical support for national capacity building

Guilherme underlined the impotence of putting the right people around the table at the national level all working towards a single country objective. Demonstrating the importance of Codex in daily life can persuade those who hold the key to investment of the need to develop strong national capacities.

Seeking funding for scientific advice for Codex?

The key to explaining the importance of the science underpinning Codex standards and to mobilising resources is through collaboration. Guilherme spoke of the need to engage with the parent organizations, stressing the links between food security and Codex work on food safety. He also spoke of the need for continued cooperation with members and his willingness to explore all possible avenues of funding for the sustainability of the scientific advice programmes whilst maintaining the independence of the work.

Working more closely with Codex committees

The new Chair explained how, with the three vice Chairs, he intends to attend meetings where possible to lend support and advice on key or particularly challenging issues. He also emphasised the importance of taking every opportunity to promote the work and values of Codex to different groups and audiences.

The future of Codex

Looking ahead, Guilherme emphasised the need to develop standards that are practical, immediately applicable –  based on science – and that really do protect human health and that make trade easier for everyone.

We must do what is necessary to be done and not what is beautiful to see.

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