Vietnam, World Bank and the Netherlands to cooperate on food safety
In Vietnam, food safety is of great and increasing importance to consumers and policymakers alike. The Government of Vietnam will intensify its collaboration with the World Bank and the Netherlands in assessing and addressing food safety risks. At the occasion of the visit by Prime Minister Phuc of Vietnam to the Netherlands a Memorandum was signed with Prime Minister Rutte and the World Bank Group’s Country Director for Vietnam, Ousmane Dione.
The ceremony of signing the Memorandum took place at the Catshuis in The Hague [photo]. The World Bank and the Government of Vietnam are engaged in ongoing discussions on improving the food safety system and infrastructure. Recently the World Bank published a technical working paper analyzing the institutional, legal and regulatory framework as well as constraints and opportunities for various value chains for urban areas like Hanoi and Ho-Chi-Minh city.
There is an agreed understanding that priority investments in improvements must be risk-based. Vietnam and the World Bank acknowledge that the Netherlands has outstanding expertise in food safety and related agro-logistics, both in the public sector and in the private sector, which the Netherlands would be happy to share with Vietnam. The collaboration is inspired by the Food for All Partnership between the Netherlands and the World Bank.
The World Bank technical working paper describes the challenges to develop effective, sustainable and scalable models of improving food safety in domestic markets, and the strategic directions for action. It recommends an experimental and learning approach to changes in the food system, with frequent assessments of progress and consequent adjustments.
The overall recommendation of the technical working paper is to develop a risk-based system using the principles of risk assessment, risk management and risk communication as set out by WHO/ FAO Codex Alimentarius framework and pillar 5 of the WBG toolkit. Further the recommendations include a range of interventions of which a few are listed here:
- Strengthen national food safety monitoring and surveillance
- Improve data management
- Create a culture of evidence-based decision making
- Develop a “farm to fork” food chain approach
- Improve traceability along the chain
- Complement end-product testing with a focus on process quality
Further domains of action are the improvement of risk communication and the capacity building and improvement of co-ordination between actors.