The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna, Austria, and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), an industry-driven initiative providing thought leadership and guidance on food safety management, formed a strategic partnership for large-scale capacity building programs, where UNIDO gives full attention to food safety as a key thematic area in their inclusive and sustainable industrial development initiative (ISID) and GFSI’s vision of making food safe for consumers everywhere.

Both entities will jointly dedicate and mobilize resources in a strategic long-term plan to scale up food safety capacity building in priority regions.

This partnership builds on the collaborations between GFSI and UNIDO since 2009, and follows the achievements made under the sustainable supplier development project (SSDP) implemented in Malaysia thanks to UNIDO and AEON, also based on GFSI Global Markets.

"To overcome global food safety challenges, we need to bring together the public and private sector, academia and international organizations and jointly deliver global solutions," says LI Yong, director general of UNIDO.

The roadmap is designed to implement food safety capacity building projects in a number of countries based on the GFSI Global Markets Program, which sets out how small and less developed food companies can meet the challenge of food safety, increase productivity and gain market access.

The new strategy will harness the focus of GFSI members, the interests of UNIDO and the maturity of GFSI in targeted geographies. Once launched, the program will focus on key regions in the global food network, such as:

  • In China, the partnership aims to coordinate efforts to work jointly toward establishing the China Food Safety Initiative (CFSI) and to scale up food safety      capacity building for local food enterprises in China, according to the UNIDO model on the Sustainable Supplier Development Program (SSDP) from 2016 onwards.
  • In Africa, the project will benefit from a strong UNIDO presence to design and build a joint UNIDO-GFSI multi-country, multi-buyer project for Africa on capacity building.
  • In Southeast Asia, the ongoing discussions with key partners like the Food Industry Asia (FIA) and the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) are aiming to initiate a regional SSDP program to scale up the UNIDO-AEON Malaysia SSDP program into a multi-country and multi-buyer initiative. 
  • In the Middle East, a regional GFSI group is foreseen under the ongoing UNIDO regional food safety project to support the private sector role into the food safety harmonization efforts in the region.