Opening Remarks at the Roundtable Conference on Asia-Pacific Food Safety Governance

18 Dec 2013

Opening Remarks by Mr. Patrick Haverman

At the Roundtable Conference on Asia-Pacific Food Safety Governance

18 December 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and honor for me to be invited to join you at the Roundtable Conference on Asia-Pacific Food Safety Governance. First of all, I sincerely thank our partner, Renmin University for organizing this event, and offering us a valuable opportunity to discuss and generate some concrete ideas based on international experiences for realizing food safety. I also congratulate on the establishment of the Cooperative Innovation for Food Safety Governance and the successful convening of this roundtable. It provides a very good platform for south-south cooperation between China and other developing countries in the region to tackle the challenges of food safety.

Food is essential for any living being. Safety is mostly important for food. Food safety is pivotal to people’s livelihood, health and happiness. It is also closely related to the overall social and economic development, as a basis for harmonious society and an indicator for responsive and accountable government.

China has made great progress in increasing its food supply through increased production and diversification of its food resources. The government has paid attention to the safety of the food it produces, processes, transports and trades. Indeed, the Twelfth Five-year Plan (2011-2015) recognizes that improving food safety is a critical national task. It requires formulating and improving food safety standards, establishing a food safety accountability chain, strengthening food safety risk monitoring and alerting and immediate response mechanism. In April 2013, the State Council of China released the 2013 Food Safety Focus of Work Arrangement, in which the central government vowed to continue its measures against criminal offenses in food scandals and would seek to establish a long-term mechanism to monitor and verify food safety. Recently, the revision of the food safety law has been put on the legislative agenda.

UNDP attaches great importance to vibrant on-going government efforts towards better food safety. We understand fully that China recognizes that there is still more to do to bring the overall level of food safety up to the international standards. We also applauds that China has committed itself to make further unremitting efforts to ensure the food safety and food supply, and wishes to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the international community.

UNDP China has a long standing partnership with China on building good governance in which food safety are one of important elements. Since 2010, UNDP has partnered with the Chinese Government for the ‘food safety laws and regulations’ project. As an embodiment of the essence of food safety governance, this project aims to promote food safety laws research and implementation, better the multi-sectoral coordination for food safety supervision and regulation, and increase legal awareness and capacity of food producers, regulators and law enforcers. With joint efforts, the project has made remarkable achievements—China’s first food safety law research center established and a number of research projects conducted, a website and bi-monthly magazine launched, proposal to the 8th amendments of the Criminal Law adopted by the legislature, the Implementation Guidelines to the Food Safety Law drafted for the Ministry of Health, the first national food safety law knowledge contest organized, innovation in food safety regulation mechanism piloted in Shaanxi province. All these manifests UN and China’s joint commitments to putting food safety the first priority to ensure a healthy and better life of men and women.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Fundamentally, food safety governance is one of the pillars that underpin China’s good governance. Food safety regulation and supervision, as an important task in social governance, is critical to restore trust in the society. Chinese people no longer take food safety for granted and have higher and higher expectation for food quality. The general public and the civil society will form close partnership with the government for tackle the challenges in food safety. UNDP will continue our support, and bring about the most relevant international best practices that may contribute to China’s food safety work.

I wish the Conference to be a very successful one and thank you for your attention. Xie Xie Da Jia!