Fiji held discussions with outgoing regional coordinator for the Coordinating Committee for North America and the South West Pacific (CCNASWP), Vanuatu as it takes on the role of the new Regional Coordinator, further to its appointment in October 2020.
The handover of roles from Vanuatu to Fiji via the Ministry of Agriculture’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Ritesh Dass took place virtually today.
In accepting his new role as Regional Coordinator for the next three years, Mr Dass said he looked forward to applying standards at the national level and supporting all countries in the region, especially the small island developing states, to establish a sound policy framework for food safety.
“These initiatives will support improvements in public health, ensure that imported food is safe and of the expected quality and develop increased access to international markets. The regional coordinator will continue supporting work on regional standards and seeks to strengthen participation of the region in Codex in general. This can be achieved by continuing to develop capacity at the national level by enhancing the role of national coordinators and contact points for increased and effective participation in Codex,” Mr Dass explained.
He also acknowledged the work done by his Vanuatu predecessor, Mr Timothy Tumukon.
“A special acknowledgement and appreciation of your work in ensuring recognition of Regional Kava and Noni Products at a significant level of Codex standards. I know leadership of this magnitude is not always easy to manage, but your perseverance and achievement as Regional Coordinator has established a standard that all incoming Regional Coordinators will have to consider and perform accordingly,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary said the discussion today provided more in-depth understanding to him and his team on pending issues and key focus in the region and how best to strategize with the key recommendations from Vanuatu and coordinate moving forward on Codex work in the region.