delilah a. cabb b.sc. m.sc. belize agricultural health authority belize the path to establish a...
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Delilah A. Cabb B.Sc. M.Sc. Belize Agricultural Health Authority Belize The Path to Establish a National SPS Committee Slide 2 Background Belize is in Central America and the Caribbean Predominantly an agricultural based economy with tourism also being a major income earner Population of approximately 330000 Member of WTO since January 1995 Slide 3 Objective Share the Belize Experience in the formation of the National SPS Committee 1. Result of the Project Initiative of the Americas 2. Outcome of participation in the Advanced SPS course offered in 2005 Slide 4 Background 1995: Belize became a member of WTO 2000: Government of Belize established a competent authority responsible for agricultural health and food safety in Belize Slide 5 Participation in WTO 1995 2002 no presence in the WTO/SPS Committee Meetings October 2002 Belize began to participate (IICAs SPS Initiative of the Americas) Key Requirement: consultation at the national level before and after each SPS Committee Meeting One Approach: Formation of a National SPS Committee Slide 6 Initial Step: Establishing a National SPS Committee Guidelines were obtained in regards to the composition (IICA Document) Venues for Meetings identified: IICAs conference room in the Capital, City of Belmopan Number of Meetings stipulated Six per annum Invitation Letter sent : proposed representatives on the Committee Slide 7 First Approach: Establishing a National SPS Committee The result was formation of an ad hoc Committee with representatives from: Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Belize Bureau of Standards University of Belize Belize Poultry Association Belize Agricultural Health Authority Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade IICA Slide 8 Challenges: First Approach There was no commitment Seldom had a quorum Eventually the Committee was reduced to members from: University of Belize Belize Agricultural Health Authority IICA And occasionally the Ministry of Foreign Affair and Foreign Trade Slide 9 Second Approach: Enhanced Coordination at the National Level In 2005, Belize participated in the first Advanced SPS Course Result: participants required to implement a Project at the National level In the mentoring process I was challenged to move outside of my comfort zone and develop and implement a Project on enhanced coordination at the national level Slide 10 Steps taken: Legal Review of the BAHA Act to determine if specific provisions covered the issue of coordination with other entities Identification of existing Committees which could function as the National SPS Committee Seek support from existing Committee(s) to take on the new roles (NSPSC) Slide 11 Initial Findings Several legal provisions found: In regards to Committee: following identified Scientific Steering Committee in BAHA (Directors of Food Safety, Animal Health, Plant Health, Quarantine & Inspection Service, Registrar of Veterinary Drugs and Animal Feed and the Coordinator of the SPS Enquiry Point) Trade Technical Team (Inter-ministerial Committee dealing with Trade matters BAHA also a Member) National Trade Negotiation Commission (representatives from all Ministries and relevant private sector (sugar, banana, citrus, livestock, poultry, BCCI, BBB others....chaired by the Minister of Trade) Slide 12 Challenges No support received from the Trade Technical Team Reason given: SPS matters are too technical and should be addressed only by BAHA The suggestion of the formation of a sub-Committee was also not supported Members indicated a need for training and clear terms of references Slide 13 Follow-up Actions IICA was approached for information on existing National SPS Committees Bilateral was held with the Directorate of Foreign Trade (DFT) Proposal was for the DFT to take the lead A document would be circulated on the role: of the Committee Agreement reached: SPS became an agenda item on meetings of Trade Technical Team Slide 14 Enhanced Coordination SPS was placed as an Agenda item on the meetings of the Trade Technical Team; This lead to increased awareness and dialogue on such matters at the national level; National support in establishing a national position No fear in officially representing the country Slide 15 National SPS Committee Two different political administrations: Trade Technical Team Inter-Ministerial Committee for trade and trade-related matters: Irrespective of the name: function remains the same: National SPS Committee Consultation with private sector is at two levels: BAHA (user groups); National Consultations coordinated by directorate of Foreign Trade Slide 16 Next Steps Formally integrate the Private Sector through enactment of regulation formalizing the SPS Committee National consultation on the regulations have been finalized Regulation now at the Ministry of Attorney General - for legal drafting and then enactment Representatives already identified Slide 17 Proposed Membership for SPS Committee Schedule 1: Composition of the National Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee: Representatives from BAHA Customs Department Ministry of Agriculture Ministry of Health Ministry of Foreign Trade Ministry of Economic Development Ministry of Tourism BELTRAIDE Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry Belize Livestock Association Belize Poultry Association Shrimp Industry Banana Industry Citrus Industry and Sugar industry Belize Agro-Productive Sector (BAS) Belize Business Bureau Slide 18 Lessons Learnt National coordination is extremely important however it requires Innovation Persistence Focus on the outcome rather than the process Use whatever system or mechanism that is available Partnership and Ownership is very important Expectations need be clearly articulated Individuals make the difference