Distinguished experts and FAO colleagues:
On behalf of the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Mr. Jacques Diouf, and on my own behalf, I have the honour and great pleasure to welcome you to Bangkok for the Workshop on the Review of Draft Regional Standards for Phytosanitary Measures.
The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) is again grateful for the opportunity to host this important meeting. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the participants for taking time away from their homes, families, and work to contribute to the regional harmonization of phytosanitary measures by providing their expert inputs.
Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO is a source of knowledge and experience. FAO helps developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices with the aim of ensuring good nutrition for all. The Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) has placed a great deal of emphasis on helping developing countries as much as its limited funds allow. Most of its disposable funds are spent on ensuring that experts and representatives from developing countries take part in CPM activities. Meanwhile, FAO also provides training to members in using the International Phytosanitary Portal and the Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation tool. Regional workshops are also organized to facilitate the participation by experts in drafting standards. The CPM stands out among international organizations in the level of effort put into assisting developing countries.
The standards-setting programme – making up the normative work of the Organization – is an important function of FAO. These include its scientific background, its expert involvement in agriculture and forestry, its role as a neutral forum for consultations, its services to collect, assemble and disseminate information, and its knowledge and involvement in production and trade. With the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) standard-setting programme, the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures is now moving into a different stage of its development with the preparation of specific standards. Previously, most of its effort was in the area of concept standards, but now much of the work of the CPM is in the area of specific standards such as diagnostic protocols, phytosanitary treatments, fruit fly control methodology, etc. These specific standards should help developing countries in particular – indeed, these standards are what they have been waiting for to help with export and market access. In the same way, the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC) is being very directed in its choice of regional standards, which should assist all members of the APPPC in their plant protection work and their export endeavours. I am very pleased that this FAO Regional Office is able to facilitate the work of the APPPC on phytosanitary standards in Asia and the Pacific.
The Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission has worked very efficiently to develop Regional Standards for Phtosanitary Measures. The work and effort you have put into these standards will substantially serve member countries in the future.
This meeting will review two draft standards that have been prepared with the help of Australian and Chinese experts. They will be the fifth and sixth RSPMs submitted to the regional standard committee after the adoption of the third and fourth RSPMs by the 24th Session of APPPC in 2005.
During the meeting, you will consider the following two draft standards and modify them as necessary:
1. Guidance for Phytosanitary Emergency Measures
2. Guidelines for assessing the phytosanitary risks associated with scale insects
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 to the Commission session in China for consideration. Hopefully, you will be able to adopt the draft standards at the 25th Session of the APPPC in China 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 and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the APPPC has played a notable role in extending development of various areas of plant quarantine to prevent the spread of dangerous exotic plant pests and diseases brought about by international trade of agri-produce.
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.