More participants are needed to take part in a scoping study toward a proposed Regional Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Centre of Excellence (COE) in the Pacific. Initial surveys started in Fiji but many more are needed from around the region.
The initiative is being driven by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) who want to develop the Sanitary Phytosanitary (SPS) Centre of Excellence. The centre will promote ‘a collaborative and regional approach to strengthening performance, sustainability and capacity in the Pacific.’
Pacific Trade Invest – Europe (PTI – Europe) Trade Promotion Adviser Robyn Ekstrom is a big fan of coordination and collaboration and encourages stakeholders to participate in this survey. Her office has successfully organised trade booths for Pacific Island companies at Europe’s largest food and beverage trade fairs, ANUGA and SIAL.
“The potential benefits of this initiative on the future of Pacific Island trade capacity are wide ranging and significant; from effective industry development and commercialisation of our wonderful and unique fibre, food and beverage products, to ensuring that Pacific Island enterprises and exporters targeting international value chains and increasingly complex international markets such as the Europe and the UK can maintain momentum and have the best possible chance of success.”
The SPS scoping study is led by Kalang Consultancy Services in partnership with the Pacific Community (SPC). Kalang is a specialist biosecurity trade and rural development advisory company.
The scoping study will identify the priorities for sanitary and phytosanitary issues and make recommendations on what the collaborative network of resources are and how they could work together. These recommendations will also be based on the successful outcomes of the past, current and future projects and draw on other relevant initiatives in the region including Pacer Plus.
The study will be used to identify the most preferred options and map them for a centre of excellence in support of agricultural production and trade.
Extensive consultations are planned with a wide range of stakeholders in the region and beyond, targeting government bodies, private sector, academia and research, donors and relevant regional and international organisations.
But more participants are needed to ensure that the priorities and needs of the Pacific are identified and addressed. A range of platforms have been set up to encourage more participants in the consultation process and another consultation is planned in the Pacific.
The scoping study began in July and could run right up until the final stage of reporting. The initial regional presentations were held in Fiji in August. Patrick Duthie of Kalang said, “We were lucky enough to be provided a spot to present in the IPPC Workshop in early August so were able to meet with a number of groups in Fiji but we still definitely need a lot more input and especially from countries other than Fiji,” he said.
“We’ll still be requesting interested parties to contact us for Skype calls or teleconferences.”
People can also email Kalang directly rather than filling out a survey, Mr Duthie said.
The results from the survey consultations in Fiji, showed 100 per cent agreement on the need for a Regional SPS Facility for Plants, Animals and Food Issues. Some 62 per cent out of 52 surveys distributed were returned. Fourteen countries gave feedback with 14 different organisations. Forty-one per cent of the surveys returned were from Fiji representatives.
A SPS CoE (Centre of Excellence) Facebook page has been set up with the first round of survey results and excellent infographics to disseminate progress so far.
Ultimately the initiative will lead to Pacific Island Countries adopting a collaborative approach focusing on plant and animal health measures in relation to Biosecurity, Market Access and Trade. This would help member countries build on their knowledge and skills in non-tariff barriers to trade. To become proficient in bilateral negotiations, market access submissions, risk assessments, surveillance and surveys, pest free production areas or zones and notification obligations amongst others. The aim would hope to boost trade within the region for sustainable food security, protection of its biodiversity and trade facilitation.