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This standard describes the structure and operation of a phytosanitary import regulatory system and the rights, obligations and responsibilities which should be considered in establishing, operating and revising the system. In this standard any reference to legislation, regulation, procedure, measure or action is a reference to phytosanitary legislation, regulation etc. unless otherwise specified.


Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, 1994. World Trade Organization, Geneva.

Code of conduct for the import and release of exotic biological control agents, 1996. ISPM No. 3, FAO, Rome.

Determination of pest status in an area, 1998. ISPM No. 8, FAO, Rome.

Export certification system, 1997. ISPM No. 7, FAO, Rome.

Glossary of phytosanitary terms, 2004. ISPM No. 5, FAO, Rome.

Guidelines for pest risk analysis, 1996. ISPM No. 2, FAO, Rome.

Guidelines for the notification of non-compliance and emergency action, 2001. ISPM No. 13, FAO, Rome.

Guidelines for surveillance, 1998. ISPM No. 6, FAO, Rome.

Guidelines on lists of regulated pests, 2003. ISPM No. 19, FAO, Rome.

International Plant Protection Convention, 1997. FAO, Rome.

Pest risk analysis for regulated non-quarantine pests, 2004. ISPM No. 21, FAO, Rome.

Pest risk analysis for quarantine pests, including analysis of environmental risks and living modified organisms, 2004. ISPM No. 11, FAO, Rome.

Principles of plant quarantine as related to international trade, 1995. ISPM No. 1, FAO, Rome.

Requirements for the establishment of pest free areas, 1996. ISPM No. 4, FAO, Rome.

Requirements for the establishment of pest free places of production and pest free production sites, 1999. ISPM No. 10, FAO, Rome.


area of low pest prevalence

An area, whether all of a country, part of a country, or all or parts of several countries, as identified by the competent authorities, in which a specific pest occurs at low levels and which is subject to effective surveillance, control or eradication measures [IPPC, 1997]

biological control agent

A natural enemy, antagonist or competitor, and other self-replicating biotic entity used for pest control [ISPM No. 3, 1996]


A type of plant, plant product, or other article being moved for trade or other purpose [FAO, 1990; revised ICPM, 2001]

compliance procedure (for a consignment)

Official procedure used to verify that a consignment complies with stated phytosanitary requirements [CEPM, 1999]


A quantity of plants, plant products and/or other articles being moved from one country to another and covered, when required, by a single phytosanitary certificate (a consignment may be composed of one or more commodities or lots) [FAO, 1990; revised ICPM, 2001]

consignment in transit

A consignment that is not imported into a country but passes through it to another country, subject to official procedures which ensure that it remains enclosed, and is not split up, not combined with other consignments nor has its packaging changed [FAO, 1990; revised CEPM, 1996; CEPM 1999; ICPM, 2002 formerly country of transit]


Keeping a consignment in official custody or confinement for phytosanitary reasons (see quarantine) [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995; CEPM, 1999]

emergency action

A prompt phytosanitary action undertaken in a new or unexpected phytosanitary situation [ICPM, 2001]

entry (of a consignment)

Movement through a point of entry into an area [FAO, 1995]

entry (of a pest)

Movement of a pest into an area where it is not yet present, or present but not widely distributed and being officially controlled [FAO, 1995]

infestation (of a commodity)

Presence in a commodity of a living pest of the plant or plant product concerned. Infestation includes infection [CEPM, 1997; revised CEPM, 1999]


Official visual examination of plants, plant products or other regulated articles to determine if pests are present and/or to determine compliance with phytosanitary regulations [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995; formerly inspect]


Person authorized by a National Plant Protection Organization to discharge its functions [FAO, 1990]

intended use

Declared purpose for which plants, plant products, or other regulated articles are imported, produced, or used [ISPM No. 16, 2002]

interception (of a consignment)

The refusal or controlled entry of an imported consignment due to failure to comply with phytosanitary regulations [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995]


The entry of a pest resulting in its establishment [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995; IPPC, 1997]


International Plant Protection Convention, as deposited in 1951 with FAO in Rome and as subsequently amended [FAO, 1990; revised ICPM, 2001]


An official ongoing process to verify phytosanitary situations [CEPM, 1996]


National Plant Protection Organization [FAO, 1990; ICPM, 2001]


Established, authorized or performed by a National Plant Protection Organization [FAO, 1990]

official control

The active enforcement of mandatory phytosanitary regulations and the application of mandatory phytosanitary procedures with the objective of eradication or containment of quarantine pests or for the management of regulated non-quarantine pests (see Glossary Supplement No. 1) [ICPM, 2001]


Material used in supporting, protecting or carrying a commodity [ISPM No. 20, 2004]


Any means that allows the entry or spread of a pest [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995]


Any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal or pathogenic agent injurious to plants or plant products [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995; IPPC, 1997]

pest categorization

The process for determining whether a pest has or has not the characteristics of a quarantine pest or those of a regulated non-quarantine pest [ISPM No. 11, 2001]

Pest Free Area

An area in which a specific pest does not occur as demonstrated by scientific evidence and in which, where appropriate, this condition is being officially maintained [FAO, 1995]

pest free place of production

Place of production in which a specific pest does not occur as demonstrated by scientific evidence and in which, where appropriate, this condition is being officially maintained for a defined period [ISPM No. 10, 1999]

Pest Risk Analysis

The process of evaluating biological or other scientific and economic evidence to determine whether a pest should be regulated and the strength of any phytosanitary measures to be taken against it [FAO, 1995; revised IPPC, 1997]

phytosanitary action

An official operation, such as inspection, testing, surveillance or treatment, undertaken to implement phytosanitary regulations or procedures [ICPM, 2001]

Phytosanitary Certificate

Certificate patterned after the model certificates of the IPPC [FAO, 1990]

phytosanitary legislation

Basic laws granting legal authority to a National Plant Protection Organization from which phytosanitary regulations may be drafted [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995]

phytosanitary measure (agreed interpretation)

Any legislation, regulation or official procedure having the purpose to prevent the introduction and/or spread of quarantine pests, or to limit the economic impact of regulated non-quarantine pests [FAO, 1995; revised IPPC, 1997; ICPM, 2002]

The agreed interpretation of the term phytosanitary measure accounts for the relationship of phytosanitary measures to regulated non-quarantine pests. This relationship is not adequately reflected in the definition found in Article II of the IPPC (1997).

phytosanitary procedure

Any officially prescribed method for implementing phytosanitary regulations including the performance of inspections, tests, surveillance or treatments in connection with regulated pests [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995; CEPM, 1999; ICPM, 2001]

phytosanitary regulation

Official rule to prevent the introduction and/or spread of quarantine pests, or to limit the economic impact of regulated non-quarantine pests, including establishment of procedures for phytosanitary certification [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995; CEPM, 1999; ICPM, 2001]

plant products

Unmanufactured material of plant origin (including grain) and those manufactured products that, by their nature or that of their processing, may create a risk for the introduction and spread of pests [FAO, 1990; revised IPPC, 1997; formerly plant product]

planting (including replanting)

Any operation for the placing of plants in a growing medium, or by grafting or similar operations, to ensure their subsequent growth, reproduction or propagation [FAO, 1990; revised CEPM,1999]


Living plants and parts thereof, including seeds and germplasm [FAO, 1990; revised IPPC, 1997]


Pest Risk Analysis [FAO 1995; revised ICPM 2001]


Phytosanitary certification and/or clearance in the country of origin, performed by or under the regular supervision of the National Plant Protection Organization of the country of destination [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995]


A phytosanitary regulation forbidding the importation or movement of specified pests or commodities [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995]


Official confinement of regulated articles for observation and research or for further inspection, testing and/or treatment [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995; CEPM, 1999]

quarantine pest

A pest of potential economic importance to the area endangered thereby and not yet present there, or present but not widely distributed and being officially controlled [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995; IPPC 1997]

Regional Plant Protection Organization

An intergovernmental organization with the functions laid down by Article IX of the IPPC [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995; CEPM, 1999; formerly plant protection organization (regional)]

regulated article

Any plant, plant product, storage place, packaging, conveyance, container, soil and any other organism, object or material capable of harbouring or spreading pests, deemed to require phytosanitary measures, particularly where international transportation is involved [FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995; IPPC, 1997]

regulated non-quarantine pest

A non-quarantine pest whose presence in plants for planting affects the intended use of those plants with an economically unacceptable impact and which is therefore regulated within the territory of the importing contracting party [IPPC, 1997]

regulated pest

A quarantine pest or a regulated non-quarantine pest [IPPC, 1997]


A phytosanitary regulation allowing the importation or movement of specified commodities subject to specific requirements [CEPM, 1996, revised CEPM, 1999]


Regulated non-quarantine pest [ISPM No. 16, 2002]


Regional Plant Protection Organization [FAO, 1990; revised ICPM, 2001]


Expansion of the geographical distribution of a pest within an area [FAO, 1995]

systems approach(es)

The integration of different pest risk management measures, at least two of which act independently, and which cumulatively achieve the appropriate level of phytosanitary protection [ISPM No. 14, 2002]


Official examination, other than visual, to determine if pests are present or to identify pests [FAO, 1990]


Officially authorized procedure for the killing, inactivation or removal of pests, or for rendering pests infertile or for devitalization [FAO, 1990, revised FAO, 1995; ISPM No. 15, 2002; ISPM No. 18, 2003]


The objective of a phytosanitary import regulatory system is to prevent the introduction of quarantine pests or limit the entry of regulated non-quarantine pests with imported commodities and other regulated articles. An import regulatory system should consist of two components: a regulatory framework of phytosanitary legislation, regulations and procedures; and an official service, the NPPO, responsible for operation or oversight of the system. The legal framework should include: legal authority for the NPPO to carry out its duties; measures with which imported commodities should comply; other measures (including prohibitions) concerning imported commodities and other regulated articles; and actions that may be taken when incidents of non-compliance or incidents requiring emergency action are detected. It may include measures concerning consignments in transit.

In operating an import regulatory system, the NPPO has a number of responsibilities. These include the responsibilities identified in Article IV.2 of the IPPC (1997) relating to import including surveillance, inspection, disinfestation or disinfection, the conduct of pest risk analysis, and training and development of staff. These responsibilities involve related functions in areas such as: administration; audit and compliance checking; action taken on non-compliance; emergency action; authorization of personnel; and settlement of disputes. In addition, contracting parties may assign to NPPOs other responsibilities, such as regulatory development and modification. NPPO resources are needed to carry out these responsibilities and functions. There are also requirements for international and national liaison, documentation, communication and review.

[1] The references listed in brackets refer to the definition or revision of the term.

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