Outgoing Regional Coordinator of the Coordinating Committee for North America and South West Pacific and current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Vanuatu Primary Producers Authority (VPPA), Timothy Tumukon, commended the milestone achievement and divulged how Vanuatu and 10 other Pacific countries could benefit from it.
“The Codex committee here has elected me to represent Vanuatu,” he shared. “All meetings are coordinated virtually via zoom due to COVID-19 issues. We had our first meeting early last month.“Australia and New Zealand counterparts will be my advisors. It is a privilege to voice the interest of the region to the supreme body regarding decisions on standards development regionally and globally. It is a privilege for the region to put forward additional development of Food Standards.”
Tumukon intends to see standards for nangae, taro and wild yam discussed during his term.
Hilde Kruse, Senior Food Standards Officer in the Codex Secretariat confirmed Vanuatu’s position in the committee to the Vanuatu Nightly News and the Daily Post from their headquarters in Italy.
“In the executive committee, we have a chairman and a vice chairman,” she said. “New Zealand was elected as vice chairman of the executive committee. This means New Zealand cannot hold a position of a member of the South West Pacific while being the vice chair in the executive
committee. Australia has terminated its membership now and normally it should have gone to New Zealand, and for this reason there is a need for another country.
“Fiji is currently the regional codex coordinator. Vanuatu had done an excellent job and now the South West Pacific is looking for another country to be a member of the international executive committee. So, everyone decided for Vanuatu.
“The six regional coordinators that we have, are also serving of the executive committee.
Vanuatu already has experience of being in the executive committee, in a slightly different capacity.
With more of regional perspective hut, Vanuatu was elected to be on the committee as the member nominated from the South West Pacific, to serve in the interest of the whole world in regard to food safety.”
Kruse added being a member of the international committee of CODEX gives a lot of insight.
“The executive is already dealing with strategic and directions for the commission,” she said. “It is also monitoring the overall work of CODEX and is there giving recommendation to the commission in regards to adoption of standards, approval of new work, and so, Vanuatu in this role can influence a lot and get a lot of useful information.
“I think there a lot of benefit to Vanuatu in regard to these and also putting important issues on the agenda, especially from the Pacific Island countries,” he said.