Olive Council 'Lacks Funds' to Represent Sector at Key Meeting

The intergovernmental organization says a lack of funds will prevent it attending the key Codex meeting on international standards.
OOT Illustration
Feb. 14, 2013
Julie Butler

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The International Olive Oil Council (IOC) — the peak rep­re­sen­ta­tive body for the sec­tor glob­ally — says a lack of funds will pre­vent it from attend­ing a key Codex Alimentarius meet­ing on inter­na­tional stan­dards for fats and oils in Langkawi, Malaysia.

Among issues on the agenda of the Codex com­mit­tee on fats and oils meet­ing (CCFO), to be held from February 25 to March 1, is a push by New World pro­duc­ers to increase the allow­able level of campes­terol in olive oil.

And rival veg­etable oil pro­duc­ers will seek changes to allow them to mar­ket soy­abean and palm oils high in oleic acid, which would help them com­pete with heart-healthy olive oil, also rich in the monoun­sat­u­rated fat.

IOC exec­u­tive direc­tor Jean-Louis Barjol attended the last CCFO meet­ing, also in Penang, in 2011. As his report on the event shows, he took a strate­gic role there, hold­ing meet­ings of olive oil del­e­gates and achiev­ing var­i­ous com­pro­mises.

However, the IOC told Olive Oil Times this week that the IOC was unfor­tu­nately” unable to par­tic­i­pate this year due to lack of funds.”


Spain’s Olimerca mag­a­zine reported in November on rumors that the IOC risked cuts to its funds from the European Commission, which it said pro­vided 80 per­cent of the IOC’s income.

Asked this week for details of the IOC bud­gets for 2012 and 2013, Barjol said he could pro­vide the fig­ure for 2011 only — €8.52 mil­lion ($11.3m) — as that was the lat­est year for which the accounts had been audited.

IOC yet to set date for next meet­ing of mem­bers

As reported by Olive Oil Times ear­lier this week, the IOC recently can­celed a request for pro­pos­als to study olive oil demand, and a date has yet to be set for the clos­ing sit­ting of the 100th ses­sion of its Council of Members.

In a sep­a­rate arti­cle, Olimerca said that the last meet­ing of the Council, in November, ended with­out agree­ment on the reports of var­i­ous tech­ni­cal com­mit­tees because quo­rum was lost when the del­e­gates from Israel and Turkey left over their dis­agree­ment with pro­posed new IOC staffing reg­u­la­tions.

It is the first time in the his­tory of the IOC that in a final assem­bly no agree­ment was reached,” the mag­a­zine said.

Asked about the mat­ter this week, the IOC said in an email on behalf of its exec­u­tive sec­re­tariat only that the 100th ses­sion failed to close in November because of the lack of quo­rum required by its gov­ern­ing con­ven­tion.”

Asked why a clos­ing sit­ting that had been planned for this month was can­celed and another yet to be sched­uled, it said under its inter­nal reg­u­la­tions the con­ven­ing of meet­ings fell to the IOC President, Habib Essid, who had seen fit to post­pone the meet­ing set for this month and whose role it would be to set another date.

Essid was IOC exec­u­tive direc­tor from 2004 to 2010. In March 2011 he was appointed Minister of the Interior in the interim gov­ern­ment of Tunisia after the Arab Spring upris­ing there that in January saw the over­throw of the Ben Ali gov­ern­ment, under which Essid had also served.

Tunisia’s oppo­si­tion leader Chokri Belaid was assas­si­nated ear­lier this month and the coun­try is again gripped by polit­i­cal cri­sis.


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