On November 12, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Honolulu, Hawaii, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs Robert Hormats participated in an event marking the creation of the world’s first Global Food Safety Fund, hosted by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Created with $1 million pledged by an innovative public-private partnership, the proposed fund will be managed by the World Bank and will leverage the tripartite approach pioneered in APEC that enlists a wide range of stakeholders in training programs designed to enhance food safety and to facilitate trade. These programs will enable more growers, producers, and food safety officials to understand and utilize preventive controls – resulting in safer food for consumers and fewer safety incidents in food trade.
The creation of a Global Food Safety Fund has been made possible by generous seed money from the private sector, including Mars Incorporated and Waters Corporation, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Once implemented, it will take forward the strong collaboration between the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the World Bank, which was formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding signed at the APEC meetings in Big Sky, Montana in May 2011. This collaboration seeks to improve food safety competencies, laboratory proficiency, and risk-based management systems in APEC economies and then, globally.
The objectives of this innovative new fund are directly aligned with Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative. The fund will complement investments made through the transformative Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, also administered by the World Bank, to further advance the collective efforts we are making with our partners to make a significant impact in reducing hunger and undernutrition
The APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and its Partnership Training Institute Network have been working to develop reproducible training modules that address high priority food safety issues since 2008. The Partnership Training Institute Network was a U.S.-led initiative endorsed by APEC Leaders in 2008. Additional information is available at http://fscf-ptin.apec.org.
The United States hopes the event will serve as a call to action for governments and industry partners to join in building a collaborative partnership model for public health and safety, in which training programs developed and tested in APEC economies can be deployed around the globe, particularly in the developing world.