Codex India along with the National Codex Committee (NCC) promotes Codex activities in India. NCC also facilitates India’s input about Codex work through an established consultation process. As a member of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, India is fully conversant with the Codex activities. India is keen to develop science based food standards that protect health of consumer and ensure fair practices in food trade by effectively and actively participating in Codex work. The NCC committee members and stakeholders alike would steer India’s participation in Codex Meetings and other Codex activities.
Since it was first established, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) has undergone changes in the way it sets standards. The codex members have increased and participate actively in contributing to international food standard-setting process. India is one of the most active members at Codex Meetings and even hosted the Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary herbs (CCSCH). Now Codex Alimentarius is expecting India to come up with more scientific inputs about CCSCH. They also expect greater participation from stakeholders who should identify global emerging issues that are of concern to India and defend them actively in various Committees.
The NCC Codex has therefore formulated a plan for 2014 – 2019 which is in sync with Alimentarius Commission Strategic Plan. The purpose of the Strategic Plan is mainly to meet the mandate of the Codex Alimentarius Commission during the period 2014-2019. The Strategic Plan has been formulated in consistence with the goals and the Terms of Reference finalized by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The strategic plan presents activities that will encourage the participation of National Codex Contact Point, Committee members and stakeholders in promoting science-based food standards and to enhance the participation of India in Codex Meetings and related activities.
India has multiple stakeholders for Codex Activities and each stakeholder must participate as an equal partner to achieve the set goals. To meet this end, The Food Authority has constituted a parallel Shadow Committee for every Codex Committee. Most of the Shadow Committees are with FSSAI but few are with other Ministries/Departments since the expertise required to manage these committees are with these Ministries. The various stakeholders for each committee are representatives from different ministries like Ministry of Health and family Welfare, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Food processing, representatives from educational institutions, representatives from Industry Associations like Confederation of Indian Industry and FICCI, experts/scientists from concerned areas. It is very important to follow a uniform streamlined procedure of conducting meetings and formulating India’s viewpoints by all stakeholders.
The 2015-2019 Strategic Plan for NCC has five main goals which are not only broad based but long term.
Goal 1: Enhancing the participation of all the stakeholders in Codex related activities.
The objectives are to spread awareness about Codex Alimentarius and its procedures among all stakeholders so as to increase participation.
The objectives can be met by activities like
- Conducting workshops in various regions of the country to provide information about Codex Alimentarius
- Releasing of quarterly newsletter [email protected]
- Encouraging stakeholders to participate in shadow committee meetings
- Nominating stakeholders to participate in various electronic working groups of Codex Alimentarius
Goal 2: Following a uniform streamlined procedure of conducting meetings and finalizing India’s viewpoints/comments.
The Objectives are to develop uniform procedure for conduct of Shadow Committee meetings and to finalize the country’s stand across all the Ministries involved in Codex Activities. Select the delegates and maintain a consistent delegation in all meetings. Prepare and finalize comments at meeting.
The objective will be met with activities like
- developing a step by step shadow meeting procedure and informing officers dealing with Codex and Ministries about the procedure
- conducting annual delegate training and developing delegate orientation programme
- identify experts and send their registration to the Codex Secretariat well before time
- Pursue higher authorities to nominate the same expert for each codex meeting which would build expertise in specific areas
- Conducting the shadow committee meeting well in advance to the main session.
- Sending the comments to Codex Secretariat at least 15 days before the main session.
Goal 3: Participating proactively and responsibly in various Codex Activities based on inputs from stakeholders.
The objectives are to collect all the relevant scientific data on a particular issue and to conduct studies on relevant issues in collaboration with relevant institutes/labs/organizations. Another objective is to conduct annual assessment of India priorities & to propose new work; a standard/RCP/GL
These objectives will be made possible through activities that will help to
- identify experts/organizations working on that particular issue and pursue them to submit the available data
- identify the concerned issues on which no data is available and then initiating studies to generate the data
- identify an appropriate issue or a commodity on which new work may be proposed based on the trade implications.
- prepare the discussion paper and the project document based on the inputs received from experts working on the concerned issue.
- circulate the draft discussion paper and project document to the concerned Shadow Committee members for review and inputs
- send the discussion paper to Codex Secretariat at least 2 months prior to the main session
Goal 4: Engaging relevant organizations, including but not limited to Educational/Research Institutions, and other member countries including members of Asian region.
The objectives are to
- collaborate with the educational/research institutions to provide data on the current topics from the published literature or by conducting studies
- establish collaborative links with other countries within the Asian Region and outside the region.
Objectives will be realised through activities that will
- engage scientists working in the concerned area in the shadow committee meetings and encourage them to provide the data available.
- enhance institutional subject matter expertise on Codex Procedures
- conduct workshops in the educational/research institutions to sensitize the experts about Codex Alimentarius
- meet with the delegates from the Asian Region to identify common concerns.
- take informal meeting with the delegates from other Member Countries at the time of Codex Meetings
- collect information about the Codex Activities in other countries from the region during workshops or electronically.
Goal 5: Improve the Codex profile of India and provide innovative leadership in the Region.
The objectives are to
Increase inter – Ministry and stakeholder awareness of NCC Strategic Plan (2015 – 2019).
Increase awareness about the Codex Procedural Manual amongst the Ministries and the stakeholders. Update and enrich Codex India website and make it more informative. Co-host the Codex Committee Meetings.
The objectives will be met through activities like
- Conducting workshop/conferences to create awareness about the strategic plan.
- Publishing the Strategic Plan on the Codex Page of FSSAI Website.
- Develop capacity and expertise with Regional Codex Member countries.
- Conducting workshop/Conferences to create awareness about the procedures followed in Codex Alimentarius Commission
- Providing information about the important and emerging issues through the quarterly published electronic newsletter.
- Uploading the Delegation report, India’s Comments and any new work proposal submitted on the Codex India page of FSSAI Website on a regular basis.
- Identifying the relevant Codex Committees that can be co-hosted by India.
- Making all the necessary arrangements to co-host the Codex Committee meeting.