IPPC member contributions support safeguarding of plant resources from introduced pests

02/09/2010The member countries of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), based in AGP, share the common goal of "cooperation between nations in protecting the world’s cultivated and natural plant resources from the spread and introduction of pests of plants, while minimizing interference with the international movement of goods and people”. Work towards this goal is made possible through the input and support of the IPPC membership. The IPPC Secretariat has recently launched a resource mobilization programme in order to secure the support needed to accomplish the mission of the IPPC and to deliver the expected IPPC 2011 work programme. Contributions that have been received thus far are enabling the IPPC to address some important issues.

Improving participation: To ensure that the work of the IPPC is relevant, of a high quality and acceptable to the membership as a whole, it is vitally important that contracting parties participate in the key meetings that establish and carry out the IPPC work programme, especially international standard setting. One means by which this is achieved is by providing representatives of low income countries with funding assistance to attend relevant meetings. For the past eight years the European Union has provided valuable funding assistance for the participation of developing countries in IPPC meetings. Such valued support is crucial in improving participation and improving transparency, while also allowing for a degree of capacity building. To date, the 2010 contribution from the EU of Euro 225,000 has supported the participation of more than 100 people in meetings such as the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM), Standards Committee (SC), the Near East Regional Workshop on Draft ISPMs and the Regional Workshop on Draft ISPMs for Russian-speaking countries.

Raising awareness: Funding from Australia is supporting the IPPC communications and advocacy programme which will highlight the importance of the IPPC in facilitating the safe trade of plants and plant products, and in protecting food security. In addition, policy and decision makers need to understand the substantial risks associated with the introduction of new pests through trade, tourism, research, or other means. A communications expert is developing advocacy material that can be used by all countries and this should be available in the foreseeable future.

Addressing global concerns: International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures are measures agreed upon by the IPPC member countries having the purpose to prevent the introduction and/or spread of pests. New ISPMs are developed to address issues of global concern.  For example, sea containers (i.e. 20- and 40-foot intermodal freight or shipping containers) are a significant pathway for the potential entry of pests, as they are now the most common means of transfer of internationally traded goods and moving personal effects. A donation of USD 50,000 from New Zealand will finance an expert working group (EWG) to prepare a draft standard on "Minimizing pest movement by sea containers and conveyances in international trade".

Attaining a common understanding on e-certification: The IPPC also helps to establish international standardized approaches that can be implemented on a bilateral basis. For example, the 5th Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures discussed the current status of e-certification within the framework of the IPPC, its challenges and benefits. In particular, it was observed that while some countries have made considerable progress with respect to implementation of e-certification, a common understanding is lacking. It was agreed that this topic should be given high priority and should be addressed through an annual technical consultation on Phyto eCert for the next two years, pending the availability of extra-budgetary resources. The first consultation will be held using NZD 50,000 provided by New Zealand. This OEWG will facilitate the exchange of experiences and improve collaboration and cooperation between interested countries.

For more information on the IPPC, visit the International Phytosanitary Portal: www.ippc.int.