Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

OPENING ADDRESS

by

He Changchui
Assistant Director-General and
Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific

Delivered at the

Workshop on the review of the
draft Regional Standards for Phytosanitary Measures

 FAORAP, Bangkok
14-20 July 2008

Chairperson,
Distinguished experts
FAO colleagues:

On behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and on my own behalf, I am pleased to welcome you to Bangkok for the Workshop on the review of the draft Regional Standards for Phytosanitary Measures.

The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) is happy to have the opportunity of hosting this workshop, which deals with an important aspect of the normative work of the Organization. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of you for accepting our invitation and to travel to Bangkok to contribute your expertise and experience to the development of harmonized phytosanitary measures.

As you are aware, FAO is undertaking a series of reviews and evaluations in order to continue to improve our capacity and efficiency in serving our members, both developed and developing countries, as a knowledge organization. FAO provides policy advice, technical assistance and capacity building to member countries to help promote sustainable agriculture and rural development, including modernize and improve crop and livestock production and health, and forestry and fisheries resources management with the aim of ensuring good nutrition for all.

The Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPS) deals with International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures. It has placed a great deal of emphasis on helping developing countries on exchange of information among phytosanitary communities, and promote national capacity on phytosanitary development through international cooperation, including through regional approaches. Through years of effort, the CPM stands out as an effective forum among international organizations for the level of assistance provided to developing countries. In this connection, you may wish to note that CPM 3 has set up an open-ended working group to begin developing a long term strategy for the role of the CPM in the development of phytosanitary capacity later this year.

The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), which is governed by the CPM, is an international treaty to secure actions to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plants and plant products, and to promote appropriate measures for their control. With the IPPC standard-setting programme, the CPM has developed 231 International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) up to April 2008. These ISPMs assist member countries, especially developing countries, in developing better exports and market access. In a similar way, the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC) is directly involved with regional standards development, and effectively helps all members of the APPPC in national and regional plant protection work and export endeavors. I am very pleased that the FAO Regional Office is able to facilitate the work of the APPPC on phytosanitary standards in Asia and the Pacific.

I note that the APPPC is developing a programme for collaboration on strategic issues. This was initiated through a meeting focused on the consideration of the CPM issues of concern to members. The meeting, organized by the Secretariat of APPPC prior to the third CPM in April 2008, discussed APPPC positions with regards to draft ISPMs and other issues of concern to member countries. It not only provided participants an opportunity for sharing information and concerns on some contents of the draft ISPMs, but also explored ways of strengthening potential collaboration for the active involvement of APPPC members in the development of ISPMs and the consideration of CPM issues in the future.

I was also pleased to note that the pest risk analysis for South American leaf blight for rubber was adopted at the 25th Session of APPPC in 2007. This will form the basis for development of a standard on measures for protection from SALB in the region. In addition to providing a basis for the protection of the rubber industry in the region, this standard will also facilitate the endorsement of the second set of the amendments (1999) of the Asia and the Pacific Plant Protection Agreement.

To return to the subject of regional standards, the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission has worked very effectively to develop Regional Standards for Phytosanitary Measures. The work and effort you have put into these standards will serve member countries well in the future.

Your present meeting will review three draft standards that have been prepared with the help of New Zealand, Malaysia, India and Chinese experts. They deal with the following subjects:

  1. Sea container cleanliness
  2. Guidelines for protection against South American leaf blight of rubber
  3. Guidance for plant quarantine at land borders.
As customarily practiced, after the meeting 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 them for consideration to the 26th Session of the Commission in India next year. Hopefully, you will be able to adopt the draft standards at that Session of the APPPC.

I am very pleased to note that, with its work on standards, the APPPC is extending its role in plant quarantine in the region to prevent the spread of plant pests related to the movement of agricultural commodities.

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 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.

Thank you.