STDF Identifies Essential Elements for Safe Trade Post COVID-19By Sofía Hanna | Tue, 08/10/2021 - 11:24
The Standards and Trade Development Fund’s (STDF) latest annual report explains that after the COVID-19 pandemic, food safety, animal and plant health will continue to be essential to safe trade.
"The work of the Standards and Trade Development Fund is to help small farmers meet international standards of health and safety of their products. This opens the doors to new markets and generates higher income, more employment and greater economic opportunities, in particular for women. It also means greater food safety, reduced time and transaction costs and a greater capacity to protect plant and animal health," said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the WTO, during the video presentation of the report.
The fund reaffirms the need for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) investments as a global public good, given how the world seemed to stop but food trade clearly could not. STDF also highlights the greater need to adopt new technologies and innovative solutions, which can help control and monitor pests and diseases. To do so, the fund calls for international cooperation and partnership to move forward and effectively aid global recovery from devastating shocks.
Based on these lessons, the STDF developed its 2020-2024 strategy, which supports long-term programs that will impact poverty, hunger, health, economic growth and partnerships. During 2020, the group focused on digital opportunities and solutions to support economic recovery and longer-term resilience in the face of future shocks and strengthened SPS capacity. SPS, explains the fund, is a global public good essential for developing countries to recover from shocks such as COVID-19 and to become more resilient to future outbreaks of pests and diseases. Without further improving field and food safety, health and nutrition will worsen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as previously mentioned by MBN.
In the report, risk management takes significant importance in the development of new strategies, especially given how the pandemic is a completely uncertain scenario. The STDF also analyzed recovery plans considering the potential continuation of the global pandemic or a new major crisis emerging, the limited interest of developing countries stakeholders in STDF's work, inadequate resources to deliver strategies, lack of engagement and other external factors. The fund also developed financial plans requested by countries to assist small-scale farmers, processors, traders and governments to meet international standards and facilitate safe trade. Demand remained high in terms of financing projects, with a total of 47 projects received.