The CODEX Coordinating Committee for North America and South-West Pacific is holding its 15th session in Port Vila this week.

Fiji, along with 10 other member countries, participated in the 15th session of the Coordinating Committee for North America and South-West Pacific (CCNASWP) at Warwick Le Lagon hotel in Port Vila, Vanuatu on the 16-20 September 2019.

This meeting is the regional platform and link to the international Codex Alimentarius Commission concerning food standards and quality development in the international arena. A new Codex Strategic Plan 2020-2025 was endorsed which includes 5 goals:

1. Address current, emerging and critical issues in a timely manner
2. Develop standards based on science and Codex-risk analysis principles
3. Increase impact through the recognition and use of Codex standards
4. Facilitate the participation of all Codex members throughout the standard-setting process
5. Enhance work management systems and practices that support the efficient and effective achievement of all strategic plan goals issues surrounding food safety, food and nutrition security in the region and what issues are affecting the region and affecting food security and food safety issues.

Fiji with the regional coordination of Vanuatu has also been privileged to request Codex to start developing standards for the region and standards are for Noni and kava beverage for consumption. Kava discussions started back in 2004 in Samoa and from then on it took some time to be able to find its way into the larger Codex arena. This was approved by the Codex Commission in 2016 to be able to develop a regional standard and since 2016 up to today, a draft standard was developed, which will be discussed next week.

For kava, the standard is far or less in its final draft version however the process of Codex requires that it is endorsed under the regional committee before it goes to the Codex Commission for the final endorsement. So hopefully the end of this week’s meeting there will be some positive outcomes from the discussion with the member countries and the Codex secretariat.

The Fiji delegation to the CCNASWP meeting is led by the Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Jale Sigarara and Deputy Secretary Agriculture, Jone Sovalawa including the Government Analyst from Koronivia Chemistry Lab, Kemueli Seuseu, Market Access Coordinator from PHAMA, Losalini Toganivalu and Senior Health Inspector, Taina Waqaliva.