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TERMS OF REFERENCE
OF THE BSEC WORKING GROUP
ON AGRICULTURE AND AGRO-INDUSTRY

Pursuant to Articles 4 and 12 of the BSEC Charter, the Working Group on Agriculture and Agro-Industry is a BSEC Subsidiary Organ and shall carry out its activities in accordance with the following Terms of Reference:

SPECIFIC PROVISIONS

1. PURPOSES/GENERAL OBJECTIVES

The purposes/general objectives of the Working Group are to:

- Intensify joint efforts to promote cooperation among the BSEC Member States in order to help to reduce regional disparities and to give an impetus to the regional trade in agricultural products.

- Consider, approve, monitor and implement relevant projects within the BSEC Project Development Fund and through the BSEC Project Management Unit, as well as other regional projects in the field of production and processing of agricultural products, as well as in other related areas.

- Enhance cooperation with relevant international organizations and structures, in order to create appropriate coordination mechanisms in agriculture and agro-industry matters and elaborate initiatives and programs in the field of agriculture.

2. MANDATE/TASKS

The mandate of the Working Group is to:

- Enhance cooperation among the BSEC Member States in selection, reproduction, and protection of plants and plant health, as well as in veterinary issues, food and feed safety, including through the elaboration of joint regional programs in these fields.

- Promote simplification of export and import procedures for agricultural products among the BSEC Member States, particularly for the fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Enhance cooperation among the BSEC Member States’ national genetic banks of plants for protecting, storing and exploring the genetic resources of plants in order to include the latters into national or regional programs of selection and to secure biodiversity.

- Enhance cooperation in the production and processing of agricultural products, inter alia, in the vine-growing and the wine-making sectors, including through the organization of and participation in relevant exhibitions and fairs.

- Promote cooperation related to the procedures of import/export of animals
(e.g. certification, laboratory testing, additional requirements).

- Enhance cooperation among the BSEC Member States in cases of epizootic situations.

- Follow up on the developments in the field of fisheries.

- Encourage the collection and analysis of scientific data in the field of fish resources.

- Promote the elaboration of studies and the application of good practices in the field of fisheries.

- Promote cooperation in the field of food and feed safety among the national competent authorities, national reference laboratories and relevant research institutions, in order to share experience and know-how.

- Promote consultations on the issue of harmonizing the labelling standards for food products, as an important part of food quality and food safety in the Member States, in conformity with their obligations in other regional and international organizations and agreements.

- Encourage cooperation and business contacts in the field of agriculture and agro-industry between producers, importers, exporters and other stakeholders from cooperative and private sector of the BSEC Member States.

3. SUBORDINATED BODIES AND RELEVANT EVENTS

The final documents of the subordinated bodies of the Working Group (reports, conclusions, recommendations, summary of the proceedings etc.) as well as of other BSEC events on Agriculture and Agro-Industry (e.g. seminars, workshops, symposia, conferences) should be submitted for consideration to the Working Group and approval by the Committee of Senior Officials.