The 15th session of the Codex Coordinating Committee for North America and South West Pacific was opened yesterday by Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, Mr Moses Amos, on behalf of Minister Matai Seremaiah.
Mr Amos highlighted that kava and noni hold very special places in Vanuatu’s culture and recently, the economy.
He said the Government of Vanuatu has been keenly following the development of draft standards for these two commodities.
The DG stressed that these are the first regional standards that the sub-region of south west pacific has requested work for their development and, so far, both have taken over 10 years in their formulation.
“I am confident that this meeting with take great strides to agree and clean the draft text further.
“The government of Vanuatu is leaning its support to the work of these standards and urges this meeting to endorse their further progress through Codex process and for adoption as planned, if not earlier,” Mr Amos stated on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity.
He commended the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the seeing the need to protect consumer health and to set up the Codex Alimentarius, which is the reference point for all food safety standards.
Present at the meeting are FAO representative, Mr Sridhar Dharmapuri and WHO representative, Ms. Shashi Sareen.
Dharmapuri says climate change is the biggest threat facing the region, discussions in this week’s meeting must not miss the larger message that food safety and standard need to be improved in the very fast changing global climate.
That is political, economic and trade climate.
Ms Sareen on behalf of WHO expressed gratitude to the Vanuatu Government for hosting the meeting and that it is essential for countries to contribute to the standards.
She says the role of Codex in the area of food safety has become specifically important with globalization, since these are referenced in the WTO sanitary and phytosanitary measures agreement as the baseline for the purpose of human health.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ralph Regenvanu, was present at the opening and Assistant Minister of agriculture for Fiji, Jale Sigarara, is also attending the meeting.