July 2013. Singapore is developing a separate regiopnal pest risk analysis protocl for SE Asia akin to those in Auystralia, New Zealand and Europe. The country feels that it would not be appropriate to take a protocol from a temperate region and apply it to SE Asia. We would like to modify existing protocols to represent the characteristics that make SE Asia unique from the perspective of PRA. A questionnaire was attached.
A member from New Zealand said: The procedures for determining a PRA are defined in WTO/SPS ISPM documents numbered ISPM02, ISPM11, ISPM21 and ISPM32. These documents are prepared as advisories to all countries and when followed stop the proliferation of technical trade barriers with no scientific justifications. If developing PRAs it was suggested to use prescribed procedures and maintain conformity within the SPS community.
Another member supported this view and went on to add: Standards already exist for PRA, no matter the country or region, and that they should be used at national level to ensure trade is based on technical justification.
- Firstly it is important to recognise the development of a regional standard for procedures based on ISPMs is possible, but NOT for outcomes. The different national/regional processes developed by Australia, NZ and Europe all follow ISPMs. Note that Australia is also a tropical country and any assessment of pests has to consider that environment and does not require any special mention in the PRA process that has been developed.
- Secondly, even the most minor differences between the regional countries means that different criteria are applied at the PR Assessment phase, and common outcomes are not possible, particularly if countries are isolated islands with different pests.
- Thirdly, each SE Asian country has separate structures, facilities, laws and operational resources so that during the PR Management phase the options available to reduce risk and their application are never the same. Complete harmonisation is only possible when legislation, directives and operational resources are also common, as in the EU. Even then there are differences in application. It was noted that in the traits you have listed, issues such as structural components and operational capabilities are not really covered. From my experience it is these components, where the facilities, staff, treatments and regulations differ that cause problems in the application of the PRA standard.
- What is possible at a regional level is the development of a common understanding of the PRA process, which has already been undertaken in the past by FAO training and workshops. It would be useful for this training and the feedback to FAO to be revisited, particularly as new relevant ISPMs have been developed.