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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

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Publication | 2022

Strenghting Food Safety Systems in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Member Countries: Current Status, Framework, and Forward Strategies

The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) was formed in 1997 to promote economic partnerships among countries in Central and West Asia and nearby East Asia. The goal is to accelerate economic growth and poverty reduction in its 11 member countries: (i) Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in Central Asia; (ii) Azerbaijan and Georgia in the South Caucasus; and (iii) Mongolia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in East Asia. By capitalizing on mutual strengths among member countries, CAREC envisions the region to become a center for global trade and commerce. Support for food safety measures specifically aims to help CAREC countries integrate into global agricultural value chains and adapt in order to prosper in the shifting landscape of global and regional trade. This paper aims to provide directions for strengthening food safety systems in CAREC countries that could enable the region to increase its intra-regional and global food trade. The paper analyzes the region’s food safety status and recommends strategies to (i) harmonize food safety legal frameworks in line with international standards, (ii) harmonize frameworks for food safety laboratories, (iii) strengthen the capacities of agricultural value chains in implementing harmonized food safety standards, and (iv) harmonize food safety sanitary and phytosanitary frameworks. It builds on lessons learned from the ADB-financed regional technical assistance for Strengthening International Food Safety Standards in Agricultural Value Chains in the CAREC Member Countries.