Economic analysis / MCDA


Many developing countries have several competing sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) capacity needs linked to domestic policy objectives and agri-food export promotion. Resources available from national budgets and donors are generally insufficient to meet all the identified needs, and inevitably priorities have to be made between competing capacity building options.


In this context, economic analysis offers a practical tool that assist decision makers in establishing priorities, in a manner that is objective and accountable, and helps to ensure that resources are used in an efficient manner. It can also help to convince policy and decision-makers of the need to invest in SPS capacity building by demonstrating the financial benefits and cost-savings involved.


Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) Tool to Prioritize SPS Capacity Building Options

The STDF has developed a new decision support tool, based on Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA), to help prioritize and make choices between competing SPS capacity building needs in the context of resource constraints. The tool provides a structured process to aid SPS decision-making, which can help to enhance the economic efficiency of SPS investment decisions, promote more transparent and accountable choices between multiple SPS capacity building options, and facilitate more inclusive decision making processes.

The Draft Guide to Multi-Criteria Decision-Making describes the steps involved in the use of this tool, including how computer software is used to derive quantitative priorities.

Click here for details about the software used (D-Sight), and the opportunity to download a free trial copy. Through applications in selected countries (see below), the draft MCDA Guide is being refined and improved.

Use of MCDA by Country



Latin America & The Caribbean















See the STDF Briefing Note No. 7 on Prioritizing SPS Capacity Needs using Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis.

MCDA Workshop WTO June 2013

The STDF organized an MCDA workshop at the WTO in Geneva on the 24-25th June 2013.

The workshop facilitated the review of the work done in the use of the MCDA to prioritize SPS capacity building options in a number of developing countries. Feedback on implementation and results were positive and incited much discussion and recommendations to guide future work.

The workshop summary report as well as the following presentations delivered are available here.

STDF Regional Workshop for Asia & the Pacific on the Use of Multi Criteria Decision Analysis to Inform SPS Decision Making (November 2012)

In November 2012, the STDF organized a regional workshop in Bangkok, Thailand for selected experts in food safety, animal and/or plant health and trade, from countries in the Asia Pacific region. The workshop was successful in its objective to:

  • increase knowledge about the MCDA Tool and its use to prioritize sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) capacity building needs;

  • provide practical skills to enable participants to apply the MCDA Tool in their countries and use the associated computer software; and

  • obtain feedback to further improve the MCDA Tool.

    The workshop programme is available here.

  • STDF Regional Workshop for Africa on the Use of Multi Criteria Decision Analysis to Inform SPS Decision Making (Johannesburg, August 2011) 

    Guidance document on the use of economic analysis to inform SPS decision making

    STDF Workshop on the use of economic analysis to inform SPS decision-making - October 2009


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    STDF Operational Rules

    STDF Medium Term Strategy 2012-2016

    STDF Work Plan 2014



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