The aim of the initiation stage is to identify the pest(s) and pathways which are of quarantine concern and should be considered for risk analysis in relation to the identified PRA area.
The PRA process may be initiated as a result of:
- the identification of a pathway that presents a potential pest hazard
- the identification of a pest that may require phytosanitary measures
- the review or revision of phytosanitary policies and priorities.
The initiation points frequently refer to pests. The IPPC defines a pest as any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal, or pathogenic agent, injurious to plants or plant products. In applying these initiation points to the specific case of plants as pests, it is important to note that the plants concerned should satisfy this definition. Pests directly affecting plants satisfy this definition. In addition, many organisms indirectly affecting plants also satisfy this definition (such as weeds/invasive plants). The fact that they are injurious to plants can be based on evidence obtained in an area where they occur. In the case of organisms where there is insufficient evidence that they affect plants indirectly, it may nevertheless be appropriate to assess on the basis of available pertinent information, whether they are potentially injurious in the PRA area by using a clearly documented, consistently applied and transparent system. This is particularly important for plant species or cultivars that are imported for planting.
The need for a new or revised PRA of a specific pathway may arise in the following situations:
- international trade is initiated in a commodity not previously imported into the country (usually a plant or plant product, including genetically altered plants) or a commodity from a new area or new country of origin
- new plant species are imported for selection and scientific research purposes
- a pathway other than commodity import is identified (natural spread, packing material, mail, garbage, passenger baggage, etc.).
A list of pests likely to be associated with the pathway (e.g. carried by the commodity) may be generated by any combination of official sources, databases, scientific and other literature, or expert consultation. It is preferable to prioritize the listing, based on expert judgement on pest distribution and types of pests. If no potential quarantine pests are identified as likely to follow the pathway, the PRA may stop at this point.
A requirement for a new or revised PRA on a specific pest may arise in the following situations:
- an emergency arises on discovery of an established infestation or an outbreak of a new pest within a PRA area
- an emergency arises on interception of a new pest on an imported commodity
- a new pest risk is identified by scientific research
- a pest is introduced into an area
- a pest is reported to be more damaging in an area other than in its area of origin
- a pest is repeatedly intercepted
- a request is made to import an organism
- an organism is identified as a vector for other pests
- an organism is genetically altered in a way which clearly identifies its potential as a plant pest.
A requirement for a new or revised PRA originating from policy concerns will most frequently arise in the following situations:
- a national decision is taken to review phytosanitary regulations, requirements or operations
- a proposal made by another country or by an international organization (RPPO, FAO) is reviewed
- a new treatment or loss of a treatment system, a new process, or new information impacts on an earlier decision
- a dispute arises on phytosanitary measures
- the phytosanitary situation in a country changes, a new country is created, or political boundaries have changed.
The PRA area should be defined as precisely as possible in order to identify the area for which information is needed.
Information gathering is an essential element of all stages of PRA. It is important at the initiation stage in order to clarify the identity of the pest(s), its/their present distribution and association with host plants, commodities, etc. Other information will be gathered as required to reach necessary decisions as the PRA continues.
Information for PRA may come from a variety of sources. The provision of official information regarding pest status is an obligation under the IPPC (Art. VIII.1c) facilitated by official contact points (Art. VIII.2).
For environmental risks, the variety of sources of information will generally be wider than traditionally used by NPPOs. Broader inputs may be required. These sources may include environmental impact assessments, but it should be recognized that such assessments usually do not have the same purpose as PRA and cannot substitute for PRA.
A check should also be made as to whether pathways, pests or policies have already been subjected to the PRA process, either nationally or internationally. If a PRA exists, its validity should be checked as circumstances and information may have changed. The possibility of using a PRA from a similar pathway or pest, that may partly or entirely replace the need for a new PRA, should also be investigated.
At the end of Stage 1, the initiation point, the pests and pathways of concern and the PRA area will have been identified. Relevant information has been collected and pests have been identified as possible candidates for phytosanitary measures, either individually or in association with a pathway.
The process for pest risk assessment can be broadly divided into three interrelated steps:
- pest categorization
- assessment of the probability of introduction and spread
- assessment of potential economic consequences (including environmental impacts).
In most cases, these steps will be applied sequentially in a PRA but it is not essential to follow a particular sequence. Pest risk assessment needs to be only as complex as is technically justified by the circumstances. This standard allows a specific PRA to be judged against the principles of necessity, minimal impact, transparency, equivalence, risk analysis, managed risk and non-discrimination set out in ISPM No. 1: Principles of plant quarantine as related to international trade (FAO, 1995).
At the outset, it may not be clear which pest(s) identified in Stage 1 require a PRA. The categorization process examines for each pest whether the criteria in the definition for a quarantine pest are satisfied.
In the evaluation of a pathway associated with a commodity, a number of individual PRAs may be necessary for the various pests potentially associated with the pathway. The opportunity to eliminate an organism or organisms from consideration before in-depth examination is undertaken is a valuable characteristic of the categorization process.
An advantage of pest categorization is that it can be done with relatively little information; however information should be sufficient to adequately carry out the categorization.
The categorization of a pest as a quarantine pest includes the following primary elements:
- identity of the pest
- presence or absence in the PRA area
- regulatory status
- potential for establishment and spread in PRA area
- potential for economic consequences (including environmental consequences) in the PRA area.
The identity of the pest should be clearly defined to ensure that the assessment is being performed on a distinct organism, and that biological and other information used in the assessment is relevant to the organism in question. If this is not possible because the causal agent of particular symptoms has not yet been fully identified, then it should have been shown to produce consistent symptoms and to be transmissible.
The taxonomic unit for the pest is generally species. The use of a higher or lower taxonomic level should be supported by scientifically sound rationale. In the case of levels below the species, this should include evidence demonstrating that factors such as differences in virulence, host range or vector relationships are significant enough to affect phytosanitary status.
In cases where a vector is involved, the vector may also be considered a pest to the extent that it is associated with the causal organism and is required for transmission of the pest.
The pest should be absent from all or a defined part of the PRA area.
If the pest is present but not widely distributed in the PRA area, it should be under official control or expected to be under official control in the near future.
Official control of pests presenting an environmental risk may involve agencies other than the NPPO. However, it is recognized that ISPM No. 5 Glossary of phytosanitary terms, Supplement No. 1 on official control, in particular Section 5.7, applies.
Evidence should be available to support the conclusion that the pest could become established or spread in the PRA area. The PRA area should have ecological/climatic conditions including those in protected conditions suitable for the establishment and spread of the pest and where relevant, host species (or near relatives), alternate hosts and vectors should be present in the PRA area.
There should be clear indications that the pest is likely to have an unacceptable economic impact (including environmental impact) in the PRA area.
Unacceptable economic impact is described in ISPM No. 5 Glossary of phytosanitary terms, Supplement No. 2: Guidelines on the understanding of potential economic importance and related terms.
If it has been determined that the pest has the potential to be a quarantine pest, the PRA process should continue. If a pest does not fulfil all of the criteria for a quarantine pest, the PRA process for that pest may stop. In the absence of sufficient information, the uncertainties should be identified and the PRA process should continue.
Pest introduction is comprised of both entry and establishment. Assessing the probability of introduction requires an analysis of each of the pathways with which a pest may be associated from its origin to its establishment in the PRA area. In a PRA initiated by a specific pathway (usually an imported commodity), the probability of pest entry is evaluated for the pathway in question. The probabilities for pest entry associated with other pathways need to be investigated as well.
For risk analyses that have been initiated for a specific pest, with no particular commodity or pathway under consideration, the potential of all probable pathways should be considered.
The assessment of probability of spread is based primarily on biological considerations similar to those for entry and establishment.
With respect to a plant being assessed as a pest with indirect effects, wherever a reference is made to a host or a host range, this should be understood to refer instead to a suitable habitat (that is a place where the plant can grow) in the PRA area.
The intended habitat is the place where the plants are intended to grow and the unintended habitat is the place where the plants are not intended to grow.
In the case of plants to be imported, the concepts of entry, establishment and spread have to be considered differently.
Plants for planting that are imported will enter and then be maintained in an intended habitat, probably in substantial numbers and for an indeterminate period. Accordingly, Section 2.2.1 on Entry does not apply. The risk arises because of the probability that the plant may spread from the intended habitat to unintended habitats within the PRA area, and then establish in those habitats. Accordingly, section 2.2.3 may be considered before section 2.2.2. Unintended habitats may occur in the vicinity of the intended habitat in the PRA area.
Imported plants not intended to be planted may be used for different purposes (e.g. used as bird seed, as fodder, or for processing). The risk arises because of the probability that the plant may escape or be diverted from the intended use to an unintended habitat and establish there.
The probability of entry of a pest depends on the pathways from the exporting country to the destination, and the frequency and quantity of pests associated with them. The higher the number of pathways, the greater the probability of the pest entering the PRA area.
Documented pathways for the pest to enter new areas should be noted. Potential pathways, which may not currently exist, should be assessed. Pest interception data may provide evidence of the ability of a pest to be associated with a pathway and to survive in transport or storage.
In the case of plants to be imported, the plants will enter and an assessment of probability of entry will not be required. Therefore this section does not apply. However, this section does apply to pests that may be carried by such plants (e.g. weed seeds with seeds imported for planting).
All relevant pathways should be considered. They can be identified principally in relation to the geographical distribution and host range of the pest. Consignments of plants and plant products moving in international trade are the principal pathways of concern and existing patterns of such trade will, to a substantial extent, determine which pathways are relevant. Other pathways such as other types of commodities, packing materials, persons, baggage, mail, conveyances and the exchange of scientific material should be considered where appropriate. Entry by natural means should also be assessed, as natural spread is likely to reduce the effectiveness of phytosanitary measures.
The probability of the pest being associated, spatially or temporally, with the pathway at origin should be estimated. Factors to consider are:
- prevalence of the pest in the source area
- occurrence of the pest in a life-stage that would be associated with commodities, containers, or conveyances
- volume and frequency of movement along the pathway
- seasonal timing
- pest management, cultural and commercial procedures applied at the place of origin (application of plant protection products, handling, culling, roguing, grading).
Examples of factors to consider are:
- speed and conditions of transport and duration of the life cycle of the pest in relation to time in transport and storage
- vulnerability of the life-stages during transport or storage
- prevalence of pest likely to be associated with a consignment
- commercial procedures (e.g. refrigeration) applied to consignments in the country of origin, country of destination, or in transport or storage.
Existing pest management procedures (including phytosanitary procedures) applied to consignments against other pests from origin to end-use, should be evaluated for effectiveness against the pest in question. The probability that the pest will go undetected during inspection or survive other existing phytosanitary procedures should be estimated.
Factors to consider are:
- dispersal mechanisms, including vectors to allow movement from the pathway to a suitable host
- whether the imported commodity is to be sent to a few or many destination points in the PRA area
- proximity of entry, transit and destination points to suitable hosts
- time of year at which import takes place
- intended use of the commodity (e.g. for planting, processing and consumption)
- risks from by-products and waste.
Some uses are associated with a much higher probability of introduction (e.g. planting) than others (e.g. processing). The probability associated with any growth, processing, or disposal of the commodity in the vicinity of suitable hosts should also be considered.
In order to estimate the probability of establishment of a pest, reliable biological information (life cycle, host range, epidemiology, survival etc.) should be obtained from the areas where the pest currently occurs. The situation in the PRA area can then be compared with that in the areas where it currently occurs (taking account also of protected environments such as glass- or greenhouses) and expert judgement used to assess the probability of establishment. Case histories concerning comparable pests can be considered. Examples of the factors to consider are:
- availability, quantity and distribution of hosts in the PRA area
- environmental suitability in the PRA area
- potential for adaptation of the pest
- reproductive strategy of the pest
- method of pest survival
- cultural practices and control measures.
In considering probability of establishment, it should be noted that a transient pest (see ISPM No. 8: Determination of pest status in an area) may not be able to establish in the PRA area (e.g. because of unsuitable climatic conditions) but could still have unacceptable economic consequences (see IPPC Art. VII.3).
In the case of plants to be imported, the assessment of the probability of establishment concerns the unintended habitats.
220.127.116.11 Availability of suitable hosts, alternate hosts and vectors in the PRA area
Factors to consider are:
- whether hosts and alternate hosts are present and how abundant or widely distributed they may be
- whether hosts and alternate hosts occur within sufficient geographic proximity to allow the pest to complete its life cycle
- whether there are other plant species, which could prove to be suitable hosts in the absence of the usual host species
- whether a vector, if needed for dispersal of the pest, is already present in the PRA area or likely to be introduced
- whether another vector species occurs in the PRA area.
The taxonomic level at which hosts are considered should normally be the species. The use of higher or lower taxonomic levels should be justified by scientifically sound rationale.
18.104.22.168 Suitability of environment
Factors in the environment (e.g. suitability of climate, soil, pest and host competition) that are critical to the development of the pest, its host and if applicable its vector, and to their ability to survive periods of climatic stress and complete their life cycles, should be identified. It should be noted that the environment is likely to have different effects on the pest, its host and its vector. This needs to be recognized in determining whether the interaction between these organisms in the area of origin is maintained in the PRA area to the benefit or detriment of the pest. The probability of establishment in a protected environment, e.g. in glasshouses, should also be considered.
Climatic modelling systems may be used to compare climatic data on the known distribution of a pest with that in the PRA area.
22.214.171.124 Cultural practices and control measures
Where applicable, practices employed during the cultivation/production of the host crops should be compared to determine if there are differences in such practices between the PRA area and the origin of the pest that may influence its ability to establish.
Pest control programs or natural enemies already in the PRA area which reduce the probability of establishment may be considered. Pests for which control is not feasible should be considered to present a greater risk than those for which treatment is easily accomplished. The availability (or lack) of suitable methods for eradication should also be considered.
126.96.36.199 Other characteristics of the pest affecting the probability of establishment
- Reproductive strategy of the pests and method of pest survival - Characteristics, which enable the pest to reproduce effectively in the new environment, such as parthenogenesis/self-crossing, duration of the life cycle, number of generations per year, resting stage etc., should be identified.
- Genetic adaptability - Whether the species is polymorphic and the degree to which the pest has demonstrated the ability to adapt to conditions like those in the PRA area should be considered, e.g., host-specific races or races adapted to a wider range of habitats or to new hosts. This genotypic (and phenotypic) variability facilitates a pest's ability to withstand environmental fluctuations, to adapt to a wider range of habitats, to develop pesticide resistance and to overcome host resistance.
- Minimum population needed for establishment - If possible, the threshold population that is required for establishment should be estimated.
A pest with a high potential for spread may also have a high potential for establishment, and possibilities for its successful containment and/or eradication are more limited. In order to estimate the probability of spread of the pest, reliable biological information should be obtained from areas where the pest currently occurs. The situation in the PRA area can then be carefully compared with that in the areas where the pest currently occurs and expert judgement used to assess the probability of spread. Case histories concerning comparable pests can usefully be considered. Examples of the factors to consider are:
- suitability of the natural and/or managed environment for natural spread of the pest
- presence of natural barriers
- the potential for movement with commodities or conveyances
- intended use of the commodity
- potential vectors of the pest in the PRA area
- potential natural enemies of the pest in the PRA area.
In the case of plants to be imported, the assessment of spread concerns spread from the intended habitat or the intended use to an unintended habitat, where the pest may establish. Further spread may then occur to other unintended habitats.
The information on probability of spread is used to estimate how rapidly a pest's potential economic importance may be expressed within the PRA area. This also has significance if the pest is liable to enter and establish in an area of low potential economic importance and then spread to an area of high potential economic importance. In addition it may be important in the risk management stage when considering the feasibility of containment or eradication of an introduced pest.
Certain pests may not cause injurious effects on plants immediately after they establish, and in particular may only spread after a certain time. In assessing the probability of spread, this should be considered, based on evidence of such behaviour.
The overall probability of introduction should be expressed in terms most suitable for the data, the methods used for analysis, and the intended audience. This may be quantitative or qualitative, since either output is in any case the result of a combination of both quantitative and qualitative information. The probability of introduction may be expressed as a comparison with that obtained from PRAs on other pests.
The part of the PRA area where ecological factors favour the establishment of the pest should be identified in order to define the endangered area. This may be the whole of the PRA area or a part of the area.
Requirements described in this step indicate what information relative to the pest and its potential host plants should be assembled, and suggest levels of economic analysis that may be carried out using that information in order to assess all the effects of the pest, i.e. the potential economic consequences. Wherever appropriate, quantitative data that will provide monetary values should be obtained. Qualitative data may also be used. Consultation with an economist may be useful.
In many instances, detailed analysis of the estimated economic consequences is not necessary if there is sufficient evidence or it is widely agreed that the introduction of a pest will have unacceptable economic consequences (including environmental consequences). In such cases, risk assessment will primarily focus on the probability of introduction and spread. It will, however, be necessary to examine economic factors in greater detail when the level of economic consequences is in question, or when the level of economic consequences is needed to evaluate the strength of measures used for risk management or in assessing the cost-benefit of exclusion or control.
In order to estimate the potential economic importance of the pest, information should be obtained from areas where the pest occurs naturally or has been introduced. This information should be compared with the situation in the PRA area. Case histories concerning comparable pests can usefully be considered. The effects considered may be direct or indirect.
The basic method for estimating the potential economic importance of pests in this section also applies to:
- pests affecting uncultivated/unmanaged plants
- weeds and/or invasive plants
- pests affecting plants through effects on other organisms.
In the case of direct and indirect environmental effects, specific evidence is needed.
In the case of plants to be imported for planting, the long-term consequences for the intended habitat may be included in the assessment. Planting may affect further use or have a harmful effect on the intended habitat.
Environmental effects and consequences considered should result from effects on plants. Such effects, however, on plants may be less significant than the effects and/or consequences on other organisms or systems. For example, a minor weed may be significantly allergenic for humans or a minor plant pathogen may produce toxins that seriously affect livestock. However, the regulation of plants solely on the basis of their effects on other organisms or systems (e.g. on human or animal health) is outside the scope of this standard. If the PRA process reveals evidence of a potential hazard to other organisms or systems, this should be communicated to the appropriate authorities which have the legal responsibility to deal with the issue.
For identification and characterization of the direct effects of the pest on each potential host in the PRA area, or those effects which are host-specific, the following are examples that could be considered:
- known or potential host plants (in the field, under protected cultivation, or in the wild)
- types, amount and frequency of damage
- crop losses, in yield and quality
- biotic factors (e.g. adaptability and virulence of the pest) affecting damage and losses
- abiotic factors (e.g. climate) affecting damage and losses
- rate of spread
- rate of reproduction
- control measures (including existing measures), their efficacy and cost
- effect on existing production practices
- environmental effects.
For each of the potential hosts, the total area of the crop and area potentially endangered should be estimated in relation to the elements given above.
In the case of the analysis of environmental risks, examples of direct pest effects on plants and/or their environmental consequences that could be considered include:
- reduction of keystone plant species
- reduction of plant species that are major components of ecosystems (in terms of abundance or size), and endangered native plant species (including effects below species level where there is evidence of such effects being significant)
- significant reduction, displacement or elimination of other plant species.
The estimation of the area potentially endangered should relate to these effects.
For identification and characterization of the indirect effects of the pest in the PRA area, or those effects that are not host-specific, the following are examples that could be considered:
- effects on domestic and export markets, including in particular effects on export market access. The potential consequences for market access which may result if the pest becomes established, should be estimated. This involves considering the extent of any phytosanitary regulations imposed (or likely to be imposed) by trading partners
- changes to producer costs or input demands, including control costs
- changes to domestic or foreign consumer demand for a product resulting from quality changes
- environmental and other undesired effects of control measures
- feasibility and cost of eradication or containment
- capacity to act as a vector for other pests
- resources needed for additional research and advice
- social and other effects (e.g. tourism).
In the case of the analysis of environmental risks, examples of indirect pest effects on plants and/or their environmental consequences that could be considered include:
- significant effects on plant communities
- significant effects on designated environmentally sensitive or protected areas
- significant change in ecological processes and the structure, stability or processes of an ecosystem (including further effects on plant species, erosion, water table changes, increased fire hazard, nutrient cycling, etc.)
- effects on human use (e.g. water quality, recreational uses, tourism, animal grazing, hunting, fishing)
- costs of environmental restoration.
Effects on human and animal health (e.g. toxicity, allergenicity), water tables, tourism, etc. could also be considered, as appropriate, by other agencies/authorities.
Estimations made in the previous section related to a hypothetical situation where the pest is supposed to have been introduced and to be fully expressing its potential economic consequences (per year) in the PRA area. In practice, however, economic consequences are expressed with time, and may concern one year, several years or an indeterminate period. Various scenarios should be considered. The total economic consequences over more than one year can be expressed as net present value of annual economic consequences, and an appropriate discount rate selected to calculate net present value.
Other scenarios could concern whether the pest occurs at one, few or many points in the PRA area and the expression of potential economic consequences will depend on the rate and manner of spread in the PRA area. The rate of spread may be envisaged to be slow or rapid; in some cases, it may be supposed that spread can be prevented. Appropriate analysis may be used to estimate potential economic consequences over the period of time when a pest is spreading in the PRA area. In addition, many of the factors or effects considered above could be expected to change over time, with the consequent effects of potential economic consequences. Expert judgement and estimations will be required.
As determined above, most of the direct effects of a pest, and some of the indirect effects will be of a commercial nature, or have consequences for an identified market. These effects, which may be positive or negative, should be identified and quantified. The following may usefully be considered:
- effect of pest-induced changes to producer profits that result from changes in production costs, yields or prices
- effect of pest-induced changes in quantities demanded or prices paid for commodities by domestic and international consumers. This could include quality changes in products and/or quarantine-related trade restrictions resulting from a pest introduction.
There are analytical techniques which can be used in consultation with experts in economics to make a more detailed analysis of the potential economic effects of a quarantine pest. These should incorporate all of the effects that have been identified. These techniques may include:
- partial budgeting - this will be adequate if the economic effects induced by the action of the pest to producer profits are generally limited to producers and are considered to be relatively minor
- partial equilibrium - this is recommended if, under point 188.8.131.52, there is a significant change in producer profits, or if there is a significant change in consumer demand. Partial equilibrium analysis is necessary to measure welfare changes, or the net changes arising from the pest impacts on producers and consumers
- general equilibrium - if the economic changes are significant to a national economy, and could cause changes to factors such as wages, interest rates or exchange rates, then general equilibrium analysis could be used to establish the full range of economic effects.
The use of analytical techniques is often limited by lack of data, by uncertainties in the data, and by the fact that for certain effects only qualitative information can be provided.
Some of the direct and indirect effects of the introduction of a pest determined in 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 will be of an economic nature, or affect some type of value, but not have an existing market which can be easily identified. As a result, the effects may not be adequately measured in terms of prices in established product or service markets. Examples include in particular environmental effects (such as ecosystem stability, biodiversity, amenity value) and social effects (such as employment, tourism) arising from a pest introduction. These impacts could be approximated with an appropriate non-market valuation method. More details on environment are given below.
If quantitative measurement of such consequences is not feasible, qualitative information about the consequences may be provided. An explanation of how this information has been incorporated into decisions should also be provided.
Application of this standard to environmental hazards requires clear categorization of environmental values and how they can be assessed. The environment can be valued using different methodologies, but these methodologies are best used in consultation with experts in economics. Methodologies may include consideration of use and non-use values. Use values arise from consumption of an element of the environment, such as accessing clean water, or fishing in a lake, and also those that are non-consumptive, such as use of forests for leisure activities. Non-use values may be subdivided into:
- option value (value for use at a later date)
- existence value (knowledge that an element of the environment exists)
- bequest value (knowledge that an element of the environment is available for future generations).
The assessment of consequences may be either quantitative or qualitative and in many cases, qualitative data is sufficient. A quantitative method may not exist to address a situation (e.g. catastrophic effects on a keystone species), or a quantitative analysis may not be possible (no methods available). Useful analyses can be based on non-monetary valuations (number of species affected, water quality), or expert judgement, if the analyses follow documented, consistent and transparent procedures.
Economic impact is described in ISPM No. 5 Glossary of phytosanitary terms, Supplement No. 2: Guidelines on the understanding of potential economic importance and related terms.
Wherever appropriate, the output of the assessment of economic consequences described in this step should be in terms of a monetary value. The economic consequences can also be expressed qualitatively or using quantitative measures without monetary terms. Sources of information, assumptions and methods of analysis should be clearly specified.
The part of the PRA area where presence of the pest will result in economically important loss should be identified as appropriate. This is needed to define the endangered area.
Estimation of the probability of introduction of a pest and of its economic consequences involves many uncertainties. In particular, this estimation is an extrapolation from the situation where the pest occurs to the hypothetical situation in the PRA area. It is important to document the areas of uncertainty and the degree of uncertainty in the assessment, and to indicate where expert judgement has been used. This is necessary for transparency and may also be useful for identifying and prioritizing research needs.
It should be noted that the assessment of the probability and consequences of environmental hazards of pests of uncultivated and unmanaged plants often involves greater uncertainty than for pests of cultivated or managed plants. This is due to the lack of information, additional complexity associated with ecosystems, and variability associated with pests, hosts or habitats.
As a result of the pest risk assessment, all or some of the categorized pests may be considered appropriate for pest risk management. For each pest, all or part of the PRA area may be identified as an endangered area. A quantitative or qualitative estimate of the probability of introduction of a pest or pests, and a corresponding quantitative or qualitative estimate of economic consequences (including environmental consequences), have been obtained and documented or an overall rating could have been assigned. These estimates, with associated uncertainties, are utilized in the pest risk management stage of the PRA.
The conclusions from pest risk assessment are used to decide whether risk management is required and the strength of measures to be used. Since zero-risk is not a reasonable option, the guiding principle for risk management should be to manage risk to achieve the required degree of safety that can be justified and is feasible within the limits of available options and resources. Pest risk management (in the analytical sense) is the process of identifying ways to react to a perceived risk, evaluating the efficacy of these actions, and identifying the most appropriate options. The uncertainty noted in the assessments of economic consequences and probability of introduction should also be considered and included in the selection of a pest management option.
In considering the management of environmental risks, it should be stressed that phytosanitary measures are intended to account for uncertainty and should be designed in proportion to the risk. Pest risk management options should be identified, taking account of the degree of uncertainty in the assessment of economic consequences, probability of introduction, and the respective technical justification of those options. In this respect, the management of risks to the environment caused by plant pests does not differ from the management of other plant pest risks.
The principle of managed risk (ISPM No. 1: Principles of plant quarantine as related to international trade) states that: Because some risk of introduction of a quarantine pest always exists, countries shall agree to a policy of risk management when formulating phytosanitary measures. In implementing this principle, countries should decide what level of risk is acceptable to them.
The acceptable level of risk may be expressed in a number of ways, such as:
- reference to existing phytosanitary requirements
- indexed to estimated economic losses
- expressed on a scale of risk tolerance
- compared with the level of risk accepted by other countries.
The decisions to be made in the pest risk management process will be based on the information collected during the preceding stages of PRA. This information will be composed of:
- reasons for initiating the process
- estimation of the probability of introduction to the PRA area
- evaluation of potential economic consequences in the PRA area.
Overall risk is determined by the examination of the outputs of the assessments of the probability of introduction and the economic impact. If the risk is found to be unacceptable, then the first step in risk management is to identify possible phytosanitary measures that will reduce the risk to, or below an acceptable level. Measures are not justified if the risk is already acceptable or must be accepted because it is not manageable (as may be the case with natural spread). Countries may decide that a low level of monitoring or audit is maintained to ensure that future changes in the pest risk are identified.
Appropriate measures should be chosen based on their effectiveness in reducing the probability of introduction of the pest. The choice should be based on the following considerations, which include several of the Principles of plant quarantine as related to international trade (ISPM No. 1):
- Phytosanitary measures shown to be cost-effective and feasible - The benefit from the use of phytosanitary measures is that the pest will not be introduced and the PRA area will, consequently, not be subjected to the potential economic consequences. The cost-benefit analysis for each of the minimum measures found to provide acceptable security may be estimated. Those measures with an acceptable benefit-to-cost ratio should be considered.
- Principle of minimal impact - Measures should not be more trade restrictive than necessary. Measures should be applied to the minimum area necessary for the effective protection of the endangered area.
- Reassessment of previous requirements - No additional measures should be imposed if existing measures are effective.
- Principle of equivalence - If different phytosanitary measures with the same effect are identified, they should be accepted as alternatives.
- Principle of non-discrimination - If the pest under consideration is established in the PRA area but of limited distribution and under official control, the phytosanitary measures in relation to import should not be more stringent than those applied within the PRA area. Likewise, phytosanitary measures should not discriminate between exporting countries of the same phytosanitary status.
The principle of non-discrimination and the concept of official control also apply to:
- pests affecting uncultivated/unmanaged plants
- weeds and/or invasive plants
- pests affecting plants through effects on other organisms.
If any of these become established in the PRA area and if official control is applied, then phytosanitary measures at import should not be more stringent than the official control measures.
The major risk of introduction of plant pests is with imported consignments of plants and plant products, but (especially for a PRA performed on a particular pest) it is necessary to consider the risk of introduction with other types of pathways (e.g. packing materials, conveyances, travellers and their luggage, and the natural spread of a pest).
The measures listed below are examples of those that are most commonly applied to traded commodities. They are applied to pathways, usually consignments of a host, from a specific origin. The measures should be as precise as possible as to consignment type (hosts, parts of plants) and origin so as not to act as barriers to trade by limiting the import of products where this is not justified. Combinations of two or more measures may be needed in order to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. The available measures can be classified into broad categories which relate to the pest status of the pathway in the country of origin. These include measures:
- applied to the consignment
- applied to prevent or reduce original infestation in the crop
- to ensure the area or place of production is free from the pest
- concerning the prohibition of commodities.
Other options may arise in the PRA area (restrictions on the use of a commodity), control measures, introduction of a biological control agent, eradication, and containment. Such options should also be evaluated and will apply in particular if the pest is already present but not widely distributed in the PRA area.
Measures may include any combinations of the following:
- inspection or testing for freedom from a pest or to a specified pest tolerance; sample size should be adequate to give an acceptable probability of detecting the pest
- prohibition of parts of the host
- a pre-entry or post-entry quarantine system - this system could be considered to be the most intensive form of inspection or testing where suitable facilities and resources are available, and may be the only option for certain pests not detectable on entry
- specified conditions of preparation of the consignment (e.g. handling to prevent infestation or re-infestation)
- specified treatment of the consignment - such treatments are applied post-harvest and could include chemical, thermal, irradiation or other physical methods
- restrictions on end use, distribution and periods of entry of the commodity.
Measures may also be applied to restrict the import of consignments of pests. The concept of consignments of pests may be applied to the import of plants considered to be pests. These consignments may be restricted to species or varieties posing less risk.
Measures may include:
- treatment of the crop, field, or place of production
- restriction of the composition of a consignment so that it is composed of plants belonging to resistant or less susceptible species
- growing plants under specially protected conditions (glasshouse, isolation)
- harvesting of plants at a certain age or a specified time of year
- production in a certification scheme. An officially monitored plant production scheme usually involves a number of carefully controlled generations, beginning with nuclear stock plants of high health status. It may be specified that the plants be derived from plants within a limited number of generations.
Measures may include:
- pest-free area - requirements for pest-free area status are described in ISPM No. 4: Requirements for the establishment of pest free areas
- pest-free place of production or pest-free production site - requirements are described in ISPM No. 10: Requirements for the establishment of pest free places of production and pest-free production sites
- inspection of crop to confirm pest freedom.
For many types of pathways, the measures considered above for plants and plant products to detect the pest in the consignment or to prevent infestation of the consignment, may also be used or adapted. For certain types of pathways, the following factors should be considered:
- Natural spread of a pest includes movement of the pest by flight, wind dispersal, transport by vectors such as insects or birds and natural migration. If the pest is entering the PRA area by natural spread, or is likely to enter in the immediate future, phytosanitary measures may have little effect. Control measures applied in the area of origin could be considered. Similarly, containment or eradication, supported by suppression and surveillance, in the PRA area after entry of the pest could be considered.
- Measures for human travellers and their baggage could include targeted inspections, publicity and fines or incentives. In a few cases, treatments may be possible.
- Contaminated machinery or modes of transport (ships, trains, planes, road transport) could be subjected to cleaning or disinfestation.
Certain measures applied within the importing country may also be used. These could include careful surveillance to try and detect the entry of the pest as early as possible, eradication programmes to eliminate any foci of infestation and/or containment action to limit spread.
For plants to be imported, where there is a high level of uncertainty regarding pest risk, it may be decided not to take phytosanitary measures at import, but only to apply surveillance or other procedures after entry (e.g. by or under the supervision of the NPPO).
If no satisfactory measure to reduce risk to an acceptable level can be found, the final option may be to prohibit importation of the relevant commodities. This should be viewed as a measure of last resort and should be considered in light of the anticipated efficacy, especially in instances where the incentives for illegal import may be significant.
Risk management includes the consideration of appropriate compliance procedures. The most important of these is export certification (see ISPM No. 7: Export certification system). The issuance of phytosanitary certificates (see ISPM No. 12: Guidelines for Phytosanitary Certificates) provides official assurance that a consignment is considered to be free from the quarantine pests specified by the importing contracting party and to conform with the current phytosanitary requirements of the importing contracting party. It thus confirms that the specified risk management options have been followed. An additional declaration may be required to indicate that a particular measure has been carried out. Other compliance measures may be used subject to bilateral or multilateral agreement.
The result of the pest risk management procedure will be either that no measures are identified which are considered appropriate or the selection of one or more management options that have been found to lower the risk associated with the pest(s) to an acceptable level. These management options form the basis of phytosanitary regulations or requirements.
The application and maintenance of such regulations is subject to certain obligations, in the case of contracting parties to the IPPC.
Phytosanitary measures taken in relation to environmental hazards should, as appropriate, be notified to relevant competent authorities responsible for national biodiversity policies, strategies and action plans.
It is noted that the communication of risks associated with environmental hazards is of particular importance to promote awareness.
The principle of modification states: As conditions change, and as new facts become available, phytosanitary measures shall be modified promptly, either by inclusion of prohibitions, restrictions or requirements necessary for their success, or by removal of those found to be unnecessary (ISPM No. 1: Principles of plant quarantine as related to international trade).
Thus, the implementation of particular phytosanitary measures should not be considered to be permanent. After application, the success of the measures in achieving their aim should be determined by monitoring during use. This is often achieved by inspection of the commodity on arrival, noting any interceptions or any entries of the pest to the PRA area. The information supporting the pest risk analysis should be periodically reviewed to ensure that any new information that becomes available does not invalidate the decision taken.
The IPPC and the principle of transparency (ISPM No. 1: Principles of plant quarantine as related to international trade) require that countries should, on request, make available the rationale for phytosanitary requirements. The whole process from initiation to pest risk management should be sufficiently documented so that when a review or a dispute arises, the sources of information and rationale used in reaching the management decision can be clearly demonstrated.
The main elements of documentation are:
- purpose for the PRA
- pest, pest list, pathways, PRA area, endangered area
- sources of information
- categorized pest list
- conclusions of risk assessment
- risk management
- options selected.
 In the case of organism
that affect plants indirectly, through effects on other organisms, the terms
host/habitat will extend also to those other organisms.|