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Chief Veterinary Officers of CARICOM Member States will benefit from a three-day training Workshop on Animal Health Risk Assessment which will be held during the period 24-26 June 1999, at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, Georgetown, Guyana.

This Workshop is a collaborative effort among the agencies including the CARICOM Secretariat, The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) in their continued efforts to improve the competitiveness of agricultural exports within the context of the Cooperation Programme for Caribbean Economic Diversification.

Under the World Trade Organisation Sanitary and Phytosanitary (WTO/SPS) Agreement the decision to reject another country’s agricultural export must be based on scientific principles. Moreover the Caribbean is a net importer of food therefore, it is important that each Caribbean country’s quarantine service be able to conduct good scientific risk assessment, in order to safeguard their own agriculture and human health and also enable them to gain export markets, as well as ensure safe food supplies.

Among the major issues to be addressed are the following:

  • the need for risk assessment within the context of international zoo-sanitary regulation; risk assessment methodology; 
  • the development of mathematical models;  and,
  • the process that APHIS uses with respect to the export of animal products into the United States.

In addition, participants would be exposed to practical training involving the use of computer applications in risk assessment.

The direct beneficiaries of this Workshop will be the Chief Veterinary Officers, who at the end of this training should be able to conduct risk assessment studies on which to base decisions regarding the importation of animal and animal products into their countries. It is also expected that the Workshop will result in an enhanced understanding and use of scientific risk assessments as the basis for decisions regarding importations of agricultural products.

A similar workshop for Chief Plant Quarantine Officers of the region will be convened in September 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago.

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