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Proceedings of the 7th Pan-African meeting of national contact points of the codex, the 15 to 17 June 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya

Most African countries have significant agricultural resource potential and cheap labor, offering an opportunity for food production, development of agro-industries and participate in regional and international trade food. This would help to increase food security, create jobs and income for farming communities and enable the opening up of rural areas by their integration into the global trading system for agricultural and food products based on regulatory bases. Often importing countries require that imported food pose no risk to their citizens and that food imports comply with their national requirements for sanitary safety of food and standards.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission was created in 1963 by FAO and WHO, develops food standards, guidelines and international and harmonized codes of practice to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in food trade. It also promotes the coordination of all work related to food standards undertaken by international governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

The functions and activities of the FAO/WHO Codex Coordinating for Africa (CCAFRICA) are currently coordinated by Kenya.

One of the biggest concerns of African countries is the lack of opportunities for consultations at regional and sub regional on issues of interest to the members of the FAO / WHO Coordinating for Africa and the Member States African Union before, during and after Codex meetings where such issues would be addressed.

To address some of the obstacles to the participation of African Member States in Codex work, AU/IBAR and the Coordinator of CCAFRICA pledged to work closely on matters concerning the food safety, regulatory and generally supporting the work coordinator.

The meeting reviewed 9 Codex Committees of interest to African countries. After discussions and exchanges, decisions were taken to the questions proposed to present at the next CAC 39.

Several food contaminants such as pesticides and food contaminants, African positions were discussed with their levels of adoption in the various committees of the codex. Experts from different countries have raised the importance of generating the data according to the African context in order to preserve the health of people in the continent. At this level, they asked various research institutions to produce scientific data on the eleven (11) Priority commissions for African countries such as contamination of husked rice by heavy metals and lead in certain foodstuffs.
The INRSP decided to participate in this multicenter research study to provide scientific data that can be used to strengthen the African position at the Codex Committees.

A request was made for the CCAFRICA to play its role and enhance the capacity of African countries and in particular on the establishment of the African Agency of food safety by the AU.

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE WORKSHOP:

After the workshop, the following recommendations were made:

1. AU-IBAR for the establishment of an office for the risk management and assessment and safety monitoring of food. This will allow better coordination and monitoring of scientific experts of the AU and scientific production data that can be used for the development of Codex standards.

2. National contact points of the codex are encouraged to be more active in identifying their experts and to inform them in time to answer the call of the FAO/ WHO experts so that African experts to be included in the FAO/WHO list for experts. PCCs were also encouraged to be more active in identifying national science experts or institutions for submission in response to the call of the FAO/WHO to the data and also inform other delegations about the activities of codex during sessions.

3. AU member countries have been encouraged to publish Codex activities known at national and regional levels to inform national delegations to FAO and WHO and WTO/SPS Committee during their regional and global meetings for the purpose of consistency in the views and national positions in the meetings.

4. The coordinator CCAFRICA (currently, Kenya) and the Regional Representative for Africa in CCEXC (currently, Nigeria) were encouraged to inform the AU summit and the regional and global FAO and meeting of WHO, about activities of Codex development in Africa. The same should be done by the same countries
5. AU member countries were encouraged to actively participate in Codex electronic working groups as is the case with regard to the participation in the Committee and the physical working groups.

6. AU-IBAR was encouraged to begin the application process to the codex as an active member of the codex as is the case in the EU.

7. In relation to work on arsenic and lead in food, it was recommended that Professor Martin Kimanya Tanzania coordinates the program of the AU to collect samples and perform relevant analyzes. IBAR was requested to support the sampling and contribute to the costs of analysis. The following countries have indicated their interest to participate in the program: Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Ghana, Mauritania, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and the Ivory Coast. The other member countries of the AU More were encouraged to participate in this work.