Application of the Framework to Prioritize SPS Capacity Building Options in Belize
The MCDA work in Belize was carried out from January to September 2012 under an STDF project, requested by the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and approved by the STDF Working Group in October 2011. Led by a small team of officials from BAHA, the MCDA work actively involved several government departments, the private sector, industry associations and academia with an interest in SPS issues.
Two national stakeholder workshops were organized during the process. Eight capacity building options were prioritized in the final analysis. Plans are under way to seek national resources for at least three of the top four options, which require minimal investment but have important impacts on product diversification and small farmers. The other options will be included in the Aid for Trade Strategy, particularly since the MCDA work clearly pointed out the upfront investment needed and the potential impact these would have once addressed.
BAHA considered the work in Belize very successful and intends to re-apply the tool based on the availability of new data, additional resources or the conclusion of existing projects and programmes. BAHA also plans to use the MCDA framework to help develop a new strategic plan for BAHA. Based on its involvement in the MCDA work, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture have expressed interest to use the MCDA framework to prioritize their own programmes and activities.
The final project report identified some key lessons and conclusions of this work: (i) the importance of good stakeholder representation to identify all the key issues; (ii) the synergies with the SPS-related capacity evaluation tools (PCE, OIE-PVS, IICA PVS, etc.) and the benefits of first applying these evaluation tools to identify major capacity needs to be considered during the MCDA work; (iii) the benefits of the MCDA analysis to provide a snapshot of the potential trade impacts linked to strengthening particular SPS capacity options identified; and (iv) the importance of carefully assigning decision weights.