20-22 September, Punakha: Around forty participants are attending a three days advocacy workshop on a theme “Achieving leadership in the codex process” at Drubchhu Resort, Lobeysa. Participants include representatives from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan, State Owned Enterprises, World Health Organization and World Food Programme country office are attending the workshop.
The workshop is aimed at strengthening the national Codex programme in Bhutan, addressing the gaps identified using the Codex Diagnostic Tool, increasing the understanding on the importance of Codex standards for consumer protection and fair practices in food trade, and enhancing engagement in international standard setting process among the relevant agencies. It is being facilitated by experts from India, WHO South East Asia Regional Office, New Delhi and FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok.
The opening session was graced by Dr. Tashi Samdup, the Director General for Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA); Dr. Gyanendra Gongal, Regional Advisor for Food Safety, WHO SEARO and Dr. Shridhar Dharmapuri, Senior Food Safety and Nutrition Officer, FAO RAP.
In his inaugural address, the Director General highlighted the important role of the relevant agencies in contributing to the work of Codex at national and international levels to protect plant, animal and human health. Dr. Gongal commended Bhutan for taking proactive initiatives towards improving the food safety situation of Bhutan and reiterated on the importance of benefiting from Codex Trust Fund to better participate and contribute towards Codex works. Dr. Shridhar Dharmapuri emphasized on using the Codex texts to further strengthen the national food control system to achieve food safety and ensure fair practices in trade.
This workshop is a part of Codex Trust Fund (CTF) tripartite project for Bhutan, India and Nepal, with the goal to strengthen the function of National Codex Structures through effective engagement of all stakeholders in Codex activities and standard setting process.