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 is implemented as part of the CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda 2030 and specifically, the CAREC Common Agenda for Modernization of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures for Trade.
International experts, including from the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization; United States Agency for International Development Competitiveness, Trade, and Jobs Project in Central Asia; and the Institute of Phytopathology of the Shota Rustaveli State University, provided technical advice in developing and implementing a regional program highlighting the importance of aligning with international standards and adopting international best practices.
Yesim Elhan-Kayalar, country director, ADB Georgia Resident Mission, expressed ADB’s commitment to support CAREC countries as part of ADB’s Strategy 2030 to increase support for regional public goods and greater cooperation in areas such as health policies, SPS standards, and quarantine, and in promoting rural development and food security.
Giorgi Kobeshavidze, deputy head, Department for International Relations, Revenue Service, Ministry of Finance of Georgia highlighted Georgia’s participation in the CAREC Program, including through the establishment of national SPS working group and other trade facilitation initiatives such as the development of a joint border-crossing point with the Republic of Azerbaijan and the pilot of CAREC Advanced Transit System (CATS) and information common exchange.
The policy dialogue highlighted the importance of deepening regional cooperation to facilitate trade while at the same strengthening national-level coordination. Shuping Wang, senior agronomist, Shanghai Customs, General Administration of Customs shared the People’s Republic China’s experience in pest surveillance coordination and integration of SPS functions with border agencies.
The policy dialogue demonstrated good practices from Georgia on joint border-related quarantine and inspection services at the Red Bridge border inspection post between Azerbaijan and Georgia. Participants learned new technologies from a commercial greenhouse producing variety of tomatoes and cucumber in Tbilisi.
The policy dialogue was jointly organized by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, and SPS National Working Group of Georgia, and Asian Development Bank. It is supported by KSTA 9500: Modernizing Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures to Facilitate Trade, co-funded by the Regional Cooperation and Integration Fund and PRC Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund.