UNCTAD/ FAO/ IFOAM International Task Force on Harmonisation and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture..
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Information:
The International Task Force on Harmonisation and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture, convened by FAO, IFOAM and UNCTAD, will serve as an open-ended platform for dialogue between public and private institutions (intergovernmental, governmental and civil society) involved in trade and regulatory activities in the organic agriculture sector (IFOAM mandate).

Objectives:

The objective is to facilitate international trade and access of developing countries to international markets.

More specifically, the Task Force will:

1. Review the existing organic agriculture standards, regulations and conformity assessment systems including:

  • Their impact on international trade in organic agriculture products;
  • Models and mechanisms of equivalency and mutual recognition;
  • Extent of international harmonisation.

2. Build on the recommendations of the IFOAM/FAO/UNCTAD Conference on International Harmonisation and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture (2002), and on the reviews mentioned above, to formulate proposals for the consideration of governments, Codex Alimentarius Commission, relevant bodies of FAO, UNCTAD and IFOAM and other appropriate organisations on:

  • Opportunities for harmonisation of standards, regulations and conformity assessment systems;
  • Mechanisms for the establishment of equivalence of standards, regulations and conformity assessment systems;
  • Mechanisms for achieving mutual recognition among and between public and private systems;
  • Measures to facilitate access to organic markets, in particular by developing countries and smallholders.

These proposals will take into account their impact on production systems, their relevance to consumers and the need for transparency.

3. Advise stakeholders and provide information on developments following discussions of the above proposals

Task Force Meetings:
First meeting IFOAM/ UNCTAD/ FAO Nürnberg, Germany, 18 Feb 2003
Second meeting, IFOAM/ UNCTAD/ FAO Geneva, 20-21 Oct 2003
Third meeting, IFOAM/ UNCTAD/ FAO Rome, 17-19 Nov 2004
Fourth meeting IFOAM/ UNCTAD/ FAO Nürnberg, Germany, 28 Feb 2005
Fifth meeting IFOAM/ UNCTAD/ FAO Tunis, Tunisia, 5-7 Dec 2005
Related meetings:
IFOAM/ UNCTAD/ FAO Conference on Intermnational Harmonisation and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture, Nürnberg Feb 2002

Documents:

The Organic Guarantee System. The need and strategy for harmonisation and equivalence

Harmonization and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture, IFOAM, Bonn, 229pp, 2004, available from the ITF Secretariat, M.Fecht@ifoam.org
Harmonization and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture, Vol. 1, presents the first results of the International Task Force (ITF) on Harmonization and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture. Organized by the FAO, IFOAM, and UNCTAD, the ITF is seeking solutions to international trade challenges that have arisen as a result of the numerous public and private standards and regulations for organic products that now prevail worldwide. This volume features four background papers that describe the current situation in organic regulation and trade, and offers some models that could apply to potential solution. A Terms of Reference for the ITF and reports of the first two task force meetings are also included

Related links:
 
Related Documents:
Commission of the European Communities, Brussels, COM(2005) XXX. Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION on organic production and labelling of organic products (presented by the Commission)
Green Food Claims. An international survey of self-declared green claims on selected food products
Comparison of the requirements of the IFOAM Accreditation Criteria and the requirements of ISO/IEC Guide 65. Compiled by Ken Commins, International Organic Accreditation Services
Proceedings. Workshop on Alternatives on Certification for Organic Production April, 13-17 2004 Torres-RS-Brazil. Alberto Pipo Lernoud and María Fernanda Fonseca, Editors
Discussion Paper. Strategy on Solutions for Harmonizing International Regulation of Organic Agriculture
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Task Force:
Secretary: Diane Bowen, d.bowen@ifoam.org tel +1 414 352 5789, fax +1 253 669 7921

UNCTAD:
Project manager: Ulrich Hoffmann, ulrich.hoffmann@unctad.org tel +41 (0)22 917 5780
Project manager: Sophia Twarog.sophia.twarog@unctad.org..tel +41 (0)22 917 5082

FAO:
Project manager: Nadia Scialabba, nadia.scialabba@fao.org tel +39 (0)6570 56729
 
IFOAM:
Project manager: Gunnar Rundgren, gunnar@grolink.se tel +46 5637235, fax +46 563 72066