Regional: Modernizing Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures to Facilitate Trade

Sovereign Project | 49190-001

The TA will support the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Common Agenda for the Modernization of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures for Trade by (i) creating national bodies in each country and a regional body to lead the modernization process; (ii) developing regulations, procedures, and requirements that are aligned with international standards; and (iii) improving the capability of border agencies to implement these measures at selected common borders.

Project Details

  • Project Officer
    Lazaro, Dorothea
    East Asia Department
    Request for information
  • Country/Economy
    Regional
  • Sector
    • Industry and trade
Project Name Modernizing Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures to Facilitate Trade
Project Number 49190-001
Country / Economy Regional
Afghanistan
Azerbaijan
Georgia
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyz Republic
Mongolia
Pakistan
China, People's Republic of
Tajikistan
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 9500-REG: Modernizing Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures to Facilitate Trade
Regional Cooperation and Integration Fund US$ 750,000.00
People's Republic of China Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund US$ 800,000.00
TA 9500-REG: Modernizing Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures to Facilitate Trade (Supplementary)
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 400,000.00
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Regional integration
Drivers of Change Knowledge solutions
Partnerships
Private sector development
Sector / Subsector

Industry and trade / Industry and trade sector development

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming No gender elements
Description The TA will support the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Common Agenda for the Modernization of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures for Trade by (i) creating national bodies in each country and a regional body to lead the modernization process; (ii) developing regulations, procedures, and requirements that are aligned with international standards; and (iii) improving the capability of border agencies to implement these measures at selected common borders.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

CAREC countries aim for economic growth through diversification and competitiveness, with strategies to develop agriculture-based value chains and improve quality through better services that incorporate sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. However, SPS systems of some CAREC countries are complex and not aligned with the World Trade Organization (WTO) SPS Agreement or international standards; (ii) the absence of risk-based analysis, and (iii) inefficient SPS controls at border points. Furthermore, there are no coordinated or comprehensive national SPS strategies, resulting in ad hoc interventions and incoherent institutional arrangements._

In 2015, CAREC endorsed the Common Agenda for Modernization of SPS Measures for Trade (CAST), a regionally agreed framework for priority actions to upgrade SPS measures and complement customs-related and trade-facilitating initiatives. CAST recognizes the need to revamp CAREC countries' SPS systems in a concerted manner in view of their similarity in agro-ecosystems, products, and agricultural practices.

In October 2017, the 16th CAREC Ministerial Conference endorsed a new long-term strategy CAREC 2030. The strategy provides for continuing support to regional cooperation to facilitate trade including the promotion of regional trade in agriculture through alignment of SPS measures with international standards, capacity-building on product quality and diversity, and improvement of shipment linkages. This will help member countries integrate into regional and global value chains. Furthermore, CAREC 2030 will support transboundary animal disease control and the development of a food safety network and a common quality control system.

Impact

Trade expanded and competitiveness improved

Movement of people and goods along CAREC corridors and across borders made efficient

Project Outcome
Description of Outcome

Sanitary and phytosanitary systems modernized

Progress Toward Outcome The TA successfully supported Uzbekistan accession to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in January 2020. Uzbekistan also became the first CAREC member to exchange live certificates under the IPPC's ePhyto Solution in October 2020.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

National and regional SPS working groups organized

National SPS measures substantially aligned with international standards

Technical capacities on SPS measures at selected common borders improved

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

A team of international consultants specializing in plant health, animal health and food safety were engaged supported by TA coordinator and national consultants from CAREC countries. The TA was launched at the CAREC Regional Workshop on Modernizing Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures to Facilitate Trade held on 29-30 May 2018 in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. More than 60 participants from SPS agencies and development partners attended the workshop. Outcomes include (i) preliminary mapping of legislative reform needs; (ii) deliberation on the creation of SPS National Working Groups (NWGs); (iii) initial prioritization of SPS technical assistance and investment projects; and (iv) potential collaboration including with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other DPs for related initiatives. The workshop outcomes were reported at the inaugural meeting of Regional Trade Group in June 2018 which supported the establishment of regional and national SPS working groups. Substantial progress has been achieved in terms of establishing the SPS national working groups (NWGs).

As of March 2019, all CAREC countries have formally established their NWGs and at various stages of developing their respective National SPS Strategy (5-year plan) and SPS Priority Action Plan (3-year plan)._A mission to Mongolia was undertaken on 27-31 August 2018 to support the SPS NWG in performing their Terms of Reference (TOR) including through a workshop on SPS legislation and implementation; and assess laboratories and terminal inspection in Ulaanbaatar, among others. Relevant border authorities and personnel from border crossing points (BCPs) in Zamyn-Uud, Sukhbaatar and Darkhan-Uul also attended the workshop.

Similar country missions with back-to-back workshop and site visits were undertaken in Uzbekistan in October 2018, in Turkmenistan in January 2019 and in Georgia in March 2019. TA (through training, mentoring or advisory work) is being provided for identified national priorities such as: (a) SPS risk assessment and categorization for Mongolia; (b) amendment of animal and plant health laws for Pakistan; (c) pilot project for adoption of modern risk-based food safety management and inspection systems in Turkmenistan; and (d) adoption of various international standards for phytosanitary measures and pest risk analysis (PRA) management plan for Uzbekistan. A proposal for biosafety channel between PRC and Central Asia, through Horgos border in Kazakhstan is being developed.Implementation of an ongoing investment project - Mongolia's regional upgrade of SPS measures for trade - has been closely coordinated with and supported on the soft side by the TA for introduction of risk-based inspection system and revise existing SPS related regulations as needed. TA mentoring was provided in June 2019.

A preliminary scoping study on the SPS infrastructural development of Gardabani railway was submitted to Georgia for investment consideration in July 2019. In March 2019, a CAREC policy dialogue on regional pest surveillance program was jointly organized by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, SPS National Working Group of Georgia, and Asian Development Bank in Tbilisi. Senior- and technical-level officials responsible for regulatory and inspection policies for plant health participated in the policy dialogue to discuss key challenges and prospects in modernizing phytosanitary measures in CAREC. The policy dialogue demonstrated good practices from Georgia from joint border-related quarantine and inspection services at the Red Bridge border inspection post between Azerbaijan and Georgia. The participants also learned new technologies from a commercial greenhouse producing variety of tomatoes and cucumber in Georgia.

In April 2019, a CAREC Policy Dialogue on Regional Program for Control and Prevention of Transboundary Animal Diseases was held in Astana and hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan. Participants agreed on a regional framework to improve animal health situation, promote international harmonization and coordination, and facilitate international trade, including through: (a) discussion platform to agree on minimum requirements, mutual recognition and electronic exchange of veterinary and trade-related certificates, (b) improve animal identification and traceability,(c) data-sharing on surveillance and outbreak response and (d) for some members, potential twinning/exchange for training of laboratory staff.

The Sanitary and Phytosanitary Regional Working Group (SPS RWG) inaugural meeting was held in Tashkent on 24-25 June 2019. The SPS RWG, comprising chairs and supported by deputy chairs or other senior members of the SPS national working group (SPS NWG) in each CAREC country, will spearhead policy dialogues and regional cooperation initiatives toward greater harmonization of measures to facilitate trade within the region and beyond. The meeting (i) endorsed its terms of reference and discussed institutional structure and implementation approach; (ii) discussed the progress of regional and global initiatives related to implementation of the Common Agenda for Modernization of SPS Measures for Trade (CAST), which are SPS priorities under CITA and RSAP; and (iii) deliberated on the SPS RWG workplan which feeds into RSAP 2019-2021. Sector-specific programs or mechanisms were discussed for animal and plant health and food safety.

A report on Modernizing Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures in CAREC: An Assessment and the Way Forward was published in May 2019. The knowledge product assesses the plant health, animal health, and food safety measures of CAREC member countries; covering laws and procedures, laboratory infrastructure, and border services management. Translation into the Russian-language version and dissemination through various means (email and blog articles) are underway.

In September 2019, a Workshop on Simplified Modern Food Safety Management and Inspection Systems, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry (MoH) was held in Turkmenistan. The workshop included mentoring on risk profiling and risk-based food safety management systems for inspectors and food business operators in Ashgabat. Following CAREC countries agreement to cooperate on a regional pest surveillance program and pilot in Fergana Valley, ADB and USAID Competitiveness, Trade and Jobs in Central Asia Activity (USAID CTJ) began to design and implement initiatives. In August 2019, ADB and USAID CTJ organized a pest risk analysis training for quarantine inspectors for select CAREC countries in Tashkent. A follow-up workshop/training was organized jointly by ADB, USAID and the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization on 12-14 August 2020 which was attended by around 35 specialists from National Plant Protection Offices of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. At the request of Georgia Revenue Service, a training for risk assessment of animal by-products was designed to build capacity for Georgias SPS Border Control Division. Training modules were developed in March 2020. The week-long virtual training was held in September 2021.

At the request of Kyrgyz Republic's Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Agriculture, Food Industry and Land Reclamation in June 2020, technical support has been initiated for the preparation of practical guidelines on the application of the rules for importation of food products from third countries. The draft guidelines was accepted by the government and published in the official website. At the request of the Mongolia's General Agency for Specialized Inspection, capacity building support were provided for SPS risk assessment and categorization based on international standards. The activity supports the amendment of the SPS components of Government Resolution No. 233 (Criteria and Indicators for Determining Risk of Imported Goods) and No. 60 (Risk Categorization).ADB and CAREC Institute jointly conduct an assessment on the feasibility of electronic phytosanitary certificates. The study leverages on ePhyto solution designed by the International Plant Protection Convention and explores potential exchange of e-certificates.

A Knowledge-Sharing Module on CAREC Trade: Facilitating Trade Through Digital Certification was developed in February 2021. The ADB brief on Electronic Phytosanitary Certification in CAREC countries was published in July 2021. In February to March 2021, the TA delivered training program to strengthen phytosanitary measures in Uzbekistan, particularly in plant quarantine legislation, plant clinics, pest risk assessment for import requirements, and border related measures. Over 400 specialists from 13 regional inspectorates of State Plant Quarantine Inspection participated. The trainings will help Uzbekistan implement its commitment under the International Plant Protection Convention after joining in 2020.

In April 2021, the SPS regional working group met virtually and deliberated on key issues to strengthen cooperation in SPS measures and endorsed the CAREC SPS Workplan 2021-2023. The SPS regional working group also jointly met with the Customs Cooperation Committee during the CAREC SPS week. The event features a series of high-level policy dialogues on strengthening cooperation in SPS measures amid and beyond the COVID-19 era, enhancing trade opportunities, addressing transboundary animal diseases and food safety issues, and facilitating safe trade through risk management and digitalization.

On 8-10 June 2021, a training on establishing pest free areas was jointly organized by the Asian Development Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development Competitiveness, Trade and Jobs activity in Central Asia, and European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. The training is part of a series of activities under the Fergana Valley pilot initiative, which supports implementation of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures. Field visits and practical exercises were conducted to demonstrate pest management conditions. Around 70 specialists from the National Plant Protection Organizations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan participated.

On 6-10 September 2021, a virtual training was conducted to strengthen capacities of border officials and relevant agencies on risk assessment legislation and risk-based border control measures for animal by-products. More than 30 specialists and border inspectors of Georgia Revenue Service, Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture, and National Food Agency participated in the training.

On 25-26 November 2021, a knowledge-sharing on official recognition of foot and mouth disease (FMD)-free status was co-organized with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China (GACC). The importance of FMD-free status as a tool for negotiating market access for animals and animal products was highlighted by the OIE. The Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan shared experience in obtaining FMD-free status. Select CAREC countries (Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) had a dialogue with the People's Republic of China (PRC) on FMD management and import requirements and quarantine access procedures for animals and animal products. Seventy-seven (77) heads and specialists of national and provincial veterinary services from Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan participated in the event.Back-to-back with the event, the virtual training that introduced laboratory techniques for equine diseases relevant to trade between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Kazakhstan was held on 29-30 November 2021. To strengthen coordination and facilitate cross-border trade, the two countries discussed laboratory requirements and detection methods for equine diseases, including piroplasmosis, infection with equine herpesvirus-1 (Rhinopneumonitis), infection with equine viral arteritis, equine influenza, and equine infectious anemia. Fifty-five (55) specialists from the National Reference Center for Veterinary Medicine, Republican Veterinary Laboratory, and professors from Saken Seifullin Kazakh Agrotechnical University participated in the training.

On 31 March to 1 April 2022, a virtual seminar on SPS measures was held in collaboration with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Ministry of National Food Security and Research of Pakistan. The seminar highlighted policymaking through interagency coordination, good regulatory practices, and prioritizing SPS investments for market access anchored on the WTO SPS Agreement. More than 80 specialists, policymakers, private sector and development partners participated in the seminar.

In May 2022, a webinar on good regulatory practices to improve SPS measures was held for ADB developing member countries. The webinar was co-organized with the Standards and Trade Development Facility of the WTO and ADB's Regional Cooperation and Integration Thematic Group. More than 180 participated in the webinar.

In June 2022, a webinar series on customs and SPS measures was held to support Mongolia's transition in integrating SPS functions under the Mongolian Customs General Administration (MCGA), aligned with Mongolia's New Revival Policy. The webinar introduced risk assessment and showcased good practices from the PRC and Georgia in integrating SPS functions under customs, focusing on the operationalization of SPS risk assessment and border controls, challenges and key lessons. Over 150_policymakers and specialists of the MCGA, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry (MOFALI), General Authority for Veterinary Services (GAVS), Ministry of Economy and Development (MED), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), and other agencies participated in the webinar.

In July 2022, the 1st Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation (PCE) Workshop for Uzbekistan was held as part of the support for the country's PCE, in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Trade Central Asia activity. The PCE is a strategic tool to formulate phytosanitary reforms.

On 19-22 July 2022, as part of the support to increase market access for Azerbaijan's certain agriculture produce, technical support was provided for establishing pest free areas. The PFA program was drafted in consultation with the Food Safety Agency and Ministry of Agriculture, and a training was organized to develop capacity in implementing the PFA program. More than 30 policymakers and specialists participated in the training.

Geographical Location Regional
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design In 2015, CAREC endorsed the Common Agenda for Modernization of SPS Measures for Trade (CAST)_ a regionally agreed framework for priority actions to upgrade SPS measures and complement customs-related and trade-facilitating initiatives. In October 2017, the 16th CAREC Ministerial Conference endorsed a new long-term strategy CAREC 2030._The strategy provides for continuing support to regional cooperation to facilitate trade including the promotion of regional trade in agriculture through alignment of SPS measures with international standards, capacity-building on product quality and diversity, and improvement of shipment linkages. This will help member countries integrate into regional and global value chains. Furthermore, CAREC 2030 will support transboundary animal disease control and the development of a food safety network and a common quality control system.
During Project Implementation Work is being undertaken with the SPS national working groups and in partnership with development partners.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services The TA will require 17 person-months of international and 120 person-months of national consultant inputs. The level of effort will be intermittent. The international consultants will be experts in plant health, animal health, food safety or related fields, and knowledgeable about the SPS Agreement and international standards. National consultants shall be the focal points for each of the 11 countries, and will have degrees in management or related discipline, good command of English, and organizational skills. A project coordinator will ensure that the work of international and national consultants, SPS working groups, and the regional working group are synchronized and complement each other. The consultants will be engaged by ADB in accordance with ADB's Procurement Policy (2017, as amended from time to time).
Responsible ADB Officer Lazaro, Dorothea
Responsible ADB Department East Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Public Mgt, Financial Sector and Regional Coop Division, EARD
Executing Agencies
Asian Development Bank
Timetable
Concept Clearance 17 Mar 2017
Fact Finding 02 May 2017 to 06 May 2017
MRM -
Approval 13 Feb 2018
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 28 Sep 2022

TA 9500-REG

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
13 Feb 2018 - 13 Feb 2018 30 Sep 2020 30 Jan 2023 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
1,150,000.00 800,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1,950,000.00 28 Sep 2022 1,202,860.99

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