JOINT FAO/WHO FOOD STANDARDS PROGRAMME
CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION
Twenty-Third Session, FAO Headquarters, Rome, 28 June -3 July 1999
Agenda Item 6
CONSUMERS INVOLVEMENT IN THE WORK OF THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION
Comments of the
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONSUMER FOOD ORGANIZATIONS
The International Association of Consumer Food Organizations (IACFO) supports the recommendations of the Secretariat regarding the participation of international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) in the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Having recently obtained Observer Status from Codex, IACFO is well aware of the significance of ensuring that such status is granted equitably to qualifying organizations.
In addition to being able to observe the work of the Commission and its committees, IACFO recommends that recognized observers be permitted to attend working group and drafting group sessions of Codex committees. Greater transparency in this area is very important. Furthermore, IACFO supports recommendation (h), which would allow a limited number of observers representative of the NGOs in Observer Status with [Codex] to be invited to sessions of the Executive Committee. This recommendation is essential for maintaining public support for Codex activities. That support, in part, depends on whether the public perceives that all Codex activities, including the work of the Executive Committee, are conducted in an open and transparent manner. Allowing the participation of INGO observers will not detract from the efficiency and effectiveness of Executive Committee sessions so long as appropriate procedural rules are adopted.
The Commission has recognized that the working procedures of the Executive Committee are subject to evolutionary changes and has strived to increase transparency at all levels of Codex proceedings. The Secretariats recommendations regarding INGO participation in Executive Committee meetings is consistent with such evolving policies. In sum, it would be inappropriate to maintain the current policy of completely closing Executive Committee meetings to the public in light of the importance of increasing transparency and maintaining public support for the work of the Commission.