24-28th May, 2021 (Entebbe, Uganda): Under WTO SPS agreement, countries are required to publish all sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS measures) and notify changes to SPS measures. Therefore, countries are required to identify a single central government authority to be responsible for the notification requirements of the SPS Agreement (the notification authority). They are further required to establish an enquiry point responsible for answering questions from other countries about SPS measures and related issues (the enquiry point) to facilitate trade.
In comparison with other geographical regions and major trading partners in agricultural commodities such as Europe and Asia, Africa’s contribution of global notifications on SPS measures was 3% since the establishment of the WTO until September 2019, while the region continues to enact new legislations and regulations, and develop new standards that impact on agricultural trade. Due to this poor notification performance, IGAD/ICPALD in partnership with AU-IBAR organized a 5 days regional training for the NNA, NEP and the private sector from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda from May 24-28, 2021 in Entebe, Uganda. The training was officially opened by Richard Okot, Commissioner of Trade of the Republic of Uganda and attended by 28 trainees. The training is believed to enhance reporting; transparency and trade.
Below are the follow up steps and recommendations from the training:
- Follow up steps for ensuring the formulation and or the activation of the regional;
- National Notification Authority
- National Enquiry Points
- SPS Regional or National Committee
- Standard Operating Procedure
- IGAD member states should register for attendance of the online WTO SPS Committee meetings including as observers.
- National and regional capacity building trainings for private sector and regulatory authorities on:
- SPS issues
- Transparency and NEPs
- Registration and use of the ePing alert
- IGAD and AU-IBAR should organize a South to South learning tour for NEP and NNA IGAD members states to e.g. Kenya and South Africa). The learning to include:
- Operation of the NEP and NNA
- Coordination with the other relevant agencies, partners and private sector
- Surveillance procedures where a ban has been imposed
- IGAD adapt from AfCFTA an IGAD notification form and procedure for members;
- IGAD should develop the work program for the regional SPS Committee to tackle issues affecting the members i.e. assessment of key issues; regular meetings to provide a forum for discussion on the progress and challenges. This will help build capacity for the participation of members at the continental and WTO level for SPS matters.
Acknowledgement: IGAD-ICPALD extends its appreciation to AU-IBAR for funding this activity