Title of the activity
Advanced Thematic Course on SPS
Activity Type
Thematic course
Application Deadline Date
This course is an in-depth and hands-on training activity conceived to encourage the active involvement of participants in SPS-related matters, ranging from addressing national implementation problems to the identification of SPS-related market access difficulties and how to develop strategies to overcome these.

The course comprises a series of sessions and practical exercises related to the implementation of the SPS Agreement. The first week of the course includes sessions aimed at deepening participants' understanding of the SPS Agreement. In the second week, participants attend the SPS Committee meetings, with a view to learning how the Committee works in practice, so as to become familiar with its rules and procedures, and to participate in the discussions. In the third week, participants will compare their experiences and will learn more about how to improve the implementation of specific provisions of the SPS Agreement, including the application of concepts and principles such as risk analysis, harmonization, equivalence, regionalism and transparency. Dispute settlement, technical assistance and cooperation, and special and differential treatment will also be addressed. A number of external experts, including from Codex, IPPC and OIE, will participate in parts of the course.

Each participant, with the assistance of coaches, will be required to elaborate an action plan to address implementation and/or market access challenges encountered in their countries. The implementation of these action plans will be monitored through a periodic reporting process after the course.

A follow-up session will be organized in July 2020, subject to budgetary approval by Members, where participants to the Advanced SPS Course will report on the implementation of their action plans.

Host Country
Trade topic
Sanitary and phytosanitary measures
Start Date
End Date
Activity Level
Eligible candidates must be government officials at the time of applying for the course, during the course, and envisaged to continue as such during the 9-month period following the course and the follow-up session which will be held in June/July of the following year. Candidates must be in a position to implement their action plans in their country during the 9-month period following the course. The pre-requisites for participation in the Advanced SPS Course are: (a) holding direct responsibilities in SPS areas, e.g. specialists on food safety, animal health, plant protection or officials from a relevant Ministry in charge of coordinating SPS matters and international trade; (b) possessing a proven advanced level of understanding of the provisions and structure of the WTO and the principles and provisions of the SPS Agreement; (c) fluent in oral and written English; (d) All candidates are required to have successfully completed the WTO e-Learning Course on the SPS Agreement. Applications from candidates who do not successfully complete the e-Learning Course on the SPS Agreement will not be considered; (e) Before the start of the course, the selected participants will receive a questionnaire to assess the level of implementation of the SPS Agreement in their countries. Completion and submission of the responses to the questionnaire is compulsory for participation in the course.
Target Audience
Government officials
Key Result
1. Government officials are implementing WTO Agreements and fully realising Members' rights and obligations
Key Output
1.1: Government officials have enhanced knowledge about the WTO Agreements, formulation of trade policies and conduct of trade negotiations
4. Geneva-based Advanced Thematic Courses and topic-specific symposia for Capital-based officials