The Sanitary phytosanitary agrement (SPS) allows members to take scientifically based measures to protect public health. The agreement commits members to base these measures on internationally established guidelines and risk assessment procedures. In the case of particularly stringent measures, countries must present scientific justification. The SPS Agreement, generally is a compromise that permits countries to take measures to protect public health within their borders so long as they do so in a manner that restricts trade as little as possible. The Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement (TBT) attempts to extricate the trade-facilitating aspects of standards from their trade-distorting potential by obligating countries to ensure that technical regulations and product standards do not unnecessarily restrict international trade.
The IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) in collaboration with WTO organized the above regional training with the following specific objectives: To provide introduction to participants on the SPS, TBT and Trade Facilitation agreements and their linkage, to discuss and identify the main SPS, TBT and trade facilitation issues affecting trade in the IGAD region, to create awareness on transparency and coordination and international Standards in the SPS and TBT areas, to share good practices and experience on the role of regional SPS and TBT Committees , funding opportunities and success stories of STDF and agree on the follow up technical assistance required.
The participants of the regional training were from seven IGAD member states representing Directors of Veterinary Services (OIE delegates ), WTO focal persons, CODEX focal persons, IPPC focal persons and Bureau of Standards. Technical partner, and international organisations such as FAO, OIE, ISO, IEC and ICPALD and NEALCO (private Sector) were also participated. Engineer Mahboub Maalim, IGAD Executive Secretary and Christiane Wolff, Representing WTO made welcoming remarks while Ambassador Mutemi representing Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International trade, Government of Kenya made the opening remarks.
Finally, the training participants made the following recommendations and way forward: Develop and validate regional SPS strategy, enhance promotion & implementation of standards, countries to domesticate international standards in their national context, IGAD to support countries to harmonize standards, policies and control procedures to enhance cross-border formal trade, expedite establishing/strengthening of national and regional SPS & TBT committees including provision of awareness to policy makers, support capacity building to enhance the trading capabilities through strengthening public and private sector's capacity for active participation in standard setting & compliance, certification of SMEs and SMIs to relevant standards and systems (GMPs, Food safety etc) and enhancing the ongoing efforts on trans-boundary disease control with special emphasis to mobilize resources for control PPR and RVF and awareness and implementation of LITS.
IGAD /ICPALD would like to thank WTO and AUIBAR/ VET GOV project for financing this important regional training.