WTO News Item, 29 November 2013
A five-agency programme has shown “impressive” and “highly relevant” results in helping developing countries meet international standards on food safety and animal and plant health, according to an independent review released to partners, donors and developing country experts on 29 November 2013.
The 43-page review of the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) reports that “the results are impressive and a testament to the effective operation of the STDF”. Its role in coordinating assistance projects is also praised as “significant value added.” The performance of the Secretariat is rated as “efficient and cost effective”.
The STDF was set up by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO) and World Trade Organization (WTO), and is run by the five partners together with donor countries and representatives of developing countries.
It assists developing countries build up their capacity to implement sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements — standards for food safety and animal and plant health — through increased awareness and knowledge of good practices, and by funding projects that promote compliance with the standards. This includes grants to help prepare projects.
The independent review was undertaken by Saana Consulting and covers the period 2009-2013. It examines the STDF’s performance against evaluation criteria developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and impact. The STDF scored well on all counts.
Highlights from the report include:
Recommendations on how to further strengthen the operation of the Facility, including by adding more staff to strengthen its operation and further enhancing the coordination function will now be discussed by STDF’s partners, donors and developing country experts in the STDF Policy Committee on 23 January 2014. The final report will be circulated to members through WTO’s SPS Committee early next year.
Housed and managed by a small team at the WTO, the STDF is a global partnership that helps developing and least developed countries improve their ability to deal with standards in food safety and animal and plant health — “sanitary and phytosanitary” (SPS) measures.
This helps them improve their own human, animal and plant health and export to other countries. The five agencies agreed to set up the STDF in 2001, and it has been in operation since 2004. Previous independent reviews of the STDF were carried out in 2005 and 2008 and also gave it high marks.
It is currently operating under a medium term strategy for 2012–2016 which included improved coordination.
A copy of the review document is available on this site. See: The Standards and Trade Development Facility Mid-Term Review Final Report