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UN/CEFACT Mini Conference on Sustainable Agriculture

28 - 28 March 2017

Salle XXIV, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

Agriculture makes an important contribution to reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Agricultural aspects are – among others – related to three main issues: Food safety, sustainability and market access.

The food supply for the world population in the near future requires special attention. Food production in the different regions as well as global and regional trade are key factors for food supply. The agricultural production of food and non-food and the (global) trade of agriculture and food products are subject to many regulations. These regulate food safety and sanitary requirements of plant and animal products as well as the trade of these products. Further, consumer demands also impact on additional requirements defined by or for the food industry and traders concerning product specifications, such as certification schemas with dedicated specifications for production and products (such as Rainforest Alliance, GLOBAL GAP, Organic).

All these regulations, requirements and specifications are related to transparency and traceability of products and their production. To heighten transparency and traceability the agriculture partners should provide information about the product, the location, the processes and the partners involved. In sum, this information is concerned with the Who, What, Where, When and Why.

To provide answers to these questions it is, firstly, crucial to use full identifiers for locations, products (goods, animals, plants) and parties involved in the trade. Secondly, there is a need for uniform coding systems to specify information about the agriculture input, the process and output. Thirdly, there is a need for standards supporting the information exchange in the agriculture–food chain.

The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) has developed and published many standards to serve the agro food production and supply chain. Each standard message covers a specified domain in the global agriculture production, food processing, trade and distribution of the food. These messages constitute a framework for the global and regional supply of safe and sustainable food.

This mini conference on sustainable agriculture provides an overview of the potentials of this framework of UN/CEFACT agriculture standard messages, the practices and experiences of their use. It focuses more specifically on activities that contribute to sustainable food production and effective traceability.

Presentations will cover the following topics:

  • Product information about fresh products;
  • Product information about crops (eCrop);
  • Tracking and tracing of animals, animal and plant products;
  • Framework for traceability for sustainable trade;
  • Product coding issues GPC for agriculture products;
  • Food safety issues and product specifications (MRL) the use of eLAB messages; and
  • Food safety incidents, the RASFF developments.

The presentations will focus on:

  • What is useful for a farmer/producer;
  • Trade and sustainability level (certification process, certified parties and products); and
  • Position of governments/authorities (regulations, procedures).

Presentations are expected to be delivered by:

  • Mrs Arancha González (Director of the International Trade Center) on the Sustainable Network;
  • Mr Ric de Rooij (Vice Secretary General, Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands) on the impact of information technology in agriculture and food production;
  • EU Directorate General Sante on EU food safety and nutrition in 2050, future challenges and policies.

Target Audience
The target audience are regulatory, market access and policy makers in the area of food safety, consumer protection and market regulation.

The mini conference is being organized by the UN/CEFACT Agriculture Domain within the Sectoral PDA, which consists of experts from policy and technical background in agriculture, fisheries and market access and food safety.