Sixth session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures agrees to strategic objectives for the next 8 years and adopts new standards

01/04/2011From 14 to 18 March, over 350 delegates representing National Plant Protection Organizations, Regional Plant Protection Organizations, Regional Economic Communities, international organizations and other observers from the scientific community and the private sector convened at FAO Headquarters in Rome for the sixth session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM).

The Commission was presented with a draft Strategic Framework for 2012-2019. After discussing the draft Strategic Framework in the plenary and in an evening session, the CPM reached consensus on four strategic objectives, namely to:
A.    protect sustainable agriculture and enhance global food security through the prevention of pest spread;
B.    protect the environment, forests and biodiversity against plant pests;  
C.    facilitate economic and trade development through the promotion of harmonized, scientifically-based phytosanitary measures; and
D.    develop phytosanitary capacity for members to accomplish A, B & C.

Although further work is still needed on the details of the draft Strategic Framework, the Commission agreed with its intent and the overall structure. Dr. Colin Grant, Executive Manager of the Biosecurity Services Group for Plants of Australia, commented that "as a document and as a framework I found it very convincing. It provides a clear statement of what the IPPC is and where it proposes to focus its efforts. I strongly endorse and support any efforts that we can put into finalizing this document and having a product that we can use to portray the big picture." Rebecca Bech, Deputy Administrator of Plant Protection and Quarantine of the U.S. Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, indicated her country's support for the rapid completion of the strategic framework, stating that "the strategic framework would position the IPPC to proactively respond to new global challenges." The revised draft Strategic Framework, Medium Term Plan, programme of work and budget and annual operational plan will be considered by CPM-7 in March 2012.

In addition to adopting the four strategic objectives for 2012-2019, the Commission also adopted new International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) and identified planned steps to improve the standards setting process. Early in the meeting, the CPM adopted three new phytosanitary treatments and an appendix to ISPM 26 on fruit fly trapping. Discussions in two evening sessions and in the margins of the meeting addressed the more than 600 comments received 14 days prior to the CPM on the revisions of ISPM 7 (Phytosanitary certification system) and ISPM 12 (Phytosanitary certificates), culminating in the adoption of these standards on Friday morning. This was considered to be a significant achievement.