Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, José Graziano da Silva has said that global trade can play an important role in improving food security and nutrition, as well as in fighting poverty and hunger.
Addressing participants at the World Trade Organisation, WTO’s 5th Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva; Graziano da Silva added that the use of science-based public standards was also essential to ensure food safety across the world.
According to the director-general, “food safety is particularly important in trade since it serves to instil confidence in consumers and in importing countries with regards to traded products”.
“On the other hand, food safety incidents, or plant and animal trans-boundary disease outbreaks can have negative impacts on public health, on trade, on peoples’ livelihoods and on countries’ economies”, he added.
Graziano da Silva explained that this informed the reason why FAO is engaged in the effective implementation of Sanitary and Phytosnitary Measures of the WTO, SPS, which are necessary to facilitate safe trade in agricultural products.
He pointed out that FAO plays a unique role in this regard, hosting the Secretariats of two international standard-setting bodies, the International Plant Protection Convection, IPPC and the Joint FAO/World Health Organisation Codex Alimentaius Commission, known as Codex, which sets international food standards.
The director general added that developing the scientific advice to ensure that the IPPC and Codex support the strengthened engagement of developing countries in the standard-setting process is also a FAO priority.
This, he disclosed was helping to develop the capacity of countries to reliably implement these standards.
Graziano da Silva, during his meeting with his WTO counterpart, Roberto Azevêdo emphasised the fact that safe trade requires sound international standards based on science and that countries need to be able to implement these standards.
The WTO and FAO chiefs, according to the statement, agreed that both their organisations should continue to work together on how sound international standards help ensure food safety and support farmers.

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