Distinguished experts and FAO colleagues:
On behalf of the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Jacques Diouf, and on my own behalf, I have the honour and great pleasure to welcome you to Bangkok for the Expert consultation on the review of the draft of Regional Standards Phytosanitary Measures.
Setting standards – also generically called the normative work of the Organization – is an important function of FAO which uses many of its resources and facilities such as its scientific background, its expert involvement in agriculture and forestry, its role as a neutral forum for consultations – both formal and informal – , its services to collect, assemble and disseminate information, and its knowledge and involvement in production and trade. I am very pleased that the FAO Regional Office is able to facilitate this important APPPC work on phytosanitary standards in Asia and the Pacific, which is a part of FAO’s normative programme.
The Commission has worked very efficiently to develop the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC) Regional Standard Setting Procedural Guidelines at the 23rd biennial Session of the APPPC in Kuala Lumpur in August 2003. I am impressed with the order, the clarity and the comprehensiveness of the guidelines. The work and effort you have put into these guidelines will substantially serve the member countries in the future.
The present workshop is convened for the RSPM Standard Committee members and experts with profound knowledge of phytosantiary standards to draft the standards for consideration. During the meeting, you will consider the following two draft standards and modify them as necessary:
- Requirements for the Establishment and Maintenance of Pest Free Areas for Tephritid Fruit Flies; and
- Guidelines for the Confirmation of Non-host Status of Fruit and Vegetables to Fruit Flies Using Host Status Tests.
The documents will be sent to all members of the APPPC for their comments as part of the consultative procedure in developing the standards, before submitting for consideration by the Commission session in Sri Lanka. Hopefully, you will be able to adopt the draft standards at the 24th Session of the APPPC in Sri Lanka next year.
I am very glad to note that following its genesis and in line with the revised Agreement of the FAO International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the FAO-APPPC has played a notable role in the extension of the development of various areas of plant quarantine to prevent the spread of dangerous exotic plant pests and diseases through international trade of agri-produce. It is a pleasure to note that most of the countries in the region have recognized the importance of the role of phytosanitary measures in the trade policy of agri-commodities, and to meet their obligations for the need of science-based pest and pathogen risk assessment under the WTO-SPS Agreement. Several countries in the region are amending their current National Plant Quarantine Acts, particularly to adjust the Standards which are being developed by FAO-IPPC in co-operation with concerned international organizations.
In concluding, I would like to extend again a most cordial welcome to you all. I wish you successful and constructive discussions on the preparation of the draft of APPPC Regional Phytosanitary Standards. I should also like to assure you that FAO will continue to do what it can to support the APPPC in its standard setting activities and to support the implementation of the standards amongst the phytosanitary agencies in the region.
Finally, I wish you all a pleasant stay in Bangkok.