Monday, Jun 25, 2018

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.

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Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a widespread, virulent, and devastating disease of small ruminants with significant economic, food security and livelihood impacts. Hence, it is considered as a top priority disease to be addressed in the next two decades in the context of improving nutrition and food security, income generation, small holders’ livelihoods and in the alleviation of poverty and hunger. This disease is  endemic in nearly all the IGAD member states (MS) and PPR is identified as one of the nine trade related priority trans-boundary diseases in the region.  

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ICPALD/IGAD and AUIBAR jointly organized two steering committees’ meeting back to back from DEC 4-5, 2014 in Naivasha, Kenya to review project progress reports including technical and financial reports, approve recommendations, work plans and budgets and provide guidance to strengthen coordination and information sharing with complementary interventions in the region. The two projects are Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Heath (SMP-AH) and Improving Animal Disease Surveillance in Support of Livestock Trade (STSD) financed by USAID and EU respectively.

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Non-compliance with world animal and plant health and food safety standards is deemed as a major barrier to accessing international agricultural trade and thereby denying countries the exploitation of the competitive advantage of their locally produced commodities, thus missing out on the potential benefits.

The IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD), in collaboration with African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), organized a regional training workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 10-12, 2014. The workshop had the following specific objectives:

To provide training to public and private sectors’ representatives on the use of science-based methods and scientific arguments in standard-setting and on some principles of the SPS Agreement of the WTO

To establish  regional SPS coordinating committee,  discuss and adapt the ToR

To propose ways of strengthening/establishing  national SPS committees

The training workshop involved 27 participants from both the public and private sectors of IGAD Member states, FAO and North Eastern Africa Livestock Council (NEALCO). The welcoming remarks were given by Dr. Ameha Sebsibe, head of livestock on behalf of ICPALD Director and by Dr. Samuel Wakhusama, on behalf of the AU-IBAR Director, and opening remark was delivered by Dr. Bewket Siraw, CVO Ethiopia.  In their remarks noted that SPS are needed to protect human from unsafe food. They also indicated that poor participation of Africa Nations in international standard setting and lack of compliance to SPS measures have been major challenges in livestock and livestock product trade development. IGAD in collaboration with AUIBAR took a leading role in coordinating member states in the region to form and strengthen SPS Committees and commended the two institutions for organizing this important training event for both public and private sectors.

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