The Asian Workshop on Implementation of e-SPS Certification Systems was hosted at the United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP)’s headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand from 1-3 November 2016. The Workshop was attended by Mr. Shane Sela (the IPPC Secretariat’s ePhyto Project Manager) and Ms. Kenza LeMentec (the Programme Officer of STDF), as well as the eleven countries from the Asian region and experts from the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Secretariat, United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and several authorities in electronic phytosanitary certification.
The Experts Workshop disseminated information on the importance of paperless systems and shared their experiences in developing e-SPS systems including business process analysis, cost-benefit analysis and other requirements which support an effective implementation electronic certification. The countries worked on identifying the challenges and benefits in implementing systems like ePhyto and determined what activities are required to support a move to electronic data transfers in facilitating trade. Many countries indicated that they had begun development of national ePhyto systems but noted that the underlying challenge was the availability of financing to support development, implementation and in particular the long term sustainability of the system. Many had also engaged with senior governments and with international funding organizations to acquire funding to start the development of system. However, the development of the IPPC ePhyto generic national system will address well the funding challenge by providing a simple system for access referred to as the generic ePhyto national system (GeNS). Work in developing the GeNS is currently underway. Many countries expressed their strong support for the implementation of ePhyto.
During the Workshop, Mr. Sela and Ms. LeMentec also met with UNESCAP representatives to further discuss how work in establishing effective tools can be developed to assist countries in assessing business processes and making the shift to electronic certification if appropriate. The group discussed possibilities of collaborating on the initiative with the objective of developing tools that could be used for any SPS electronic certification initiative.
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