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1. Opening of the session and organizational matters

1.1 Attendance

The Twenty-Second Session of the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC) was held in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam from 17 to 21 September 2001. Thirty nine (39) delegates attended from 18 member countries of the commission namely Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga and Viet Nam. Two delegates from Japan and the United States attended as observers. There were also six observers from Viet Nam. The list of participants is attached as annex I.

1.2 Introductory remarks by Dam Quoc Tru, Vice-chairperson of the organizing committee

Mr Tru welcomed all the participants noting that this was the first time Viet Nam has had an opportunity to host a biennial session of the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission.

Mr Tru stated that the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission has worked hard over the past two years to amend the Plant Protection Agreement for the Asia and Pacific region. There is still much work that needs to be done to develop and adopt the South American leaf blight (SALB) standard so as to complete the amendments. The standard will be based on a SALB Pest Risk Analysis, which will begin shortly.

At global level, Mr Tru noted, the secretariat and the member countries have actively participated in a number of meetings especially on international standard setting. The commission is also enhancing the capacity of member countries in implementing the standards by conducting regional technical consultations on international standards. The commission has also encouraged member countries to use the interim commission on phytosanitary measures (ICPM) for phytosanitary capacity evaluation as a tool to identify difficulties and the areas for strengthening the capacity for standard implementation. Furthermore, the commission has initiated the development of regional standards for phytosanitary measures.

As an APPPC member country, Viet Nam has extensively improved its own national plant protection organization and closely co-operated with other countries in order to fulfil its obligation under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the regional plant protection agreement. Mr Tru expressed Viet Nam’s concern over their responsibilities in implementing phytosanitary commitments with ASEAN at present and WTO in the future.

Mr Tru concluded by noting that the organizing committee has been working very hard to make sure that all the participants really enjoyed their stay in Viet Nam. He wished participants successful deliberations.

1.3 Welcome address by Mai Quoc Binh, Vice-chairperson of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City

Mai Quoc Binh welcomed all of the delegates, observers and FAO staff on behalf of the Municipal Authority and the people of Ho Chi Minh City.

Mr Binh noted that Viet Nam has made significant achievements in agricultural production. With the growing importance of international trade in Asia and the Pacific region, plant protection will play an even more significant role in providing consumers world wide with high quality, and safe agricultural produce. He was pleased to hear that the revised Plant Protection Agreement for the Asia and Pacific region was in the process of being approved and implemented.

Mr Binh stressed his belief that the outcomes of the meeting would make great contributions to the control of injurious pests while facilitating agricultural trade in the world’s largest region.

1.4 Opening remarks by Farid Bahar, Chairperson of the APPPC

Dr Bahar informed participants of the untimely sad demise of his predecessor chairperson Charil Anwar Rasahan. He then welcomed participants to the 22nd Session of the APPPC.

Dr Bahar noted the activities of the APPPC over the past two years and the extensive FAO global plant protection programme supporting the IPPC, the WTO-SPS Agreement and the FAO International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides.

Dr Bahar acknowledged the financial and technical assistance from some developed countries (for example New Zealand) and the efforts of the Executive Secretary of the APPPC. Dr Bahar emphasized Indonesia’s endeavours to assist with priority development support programmes of the APPPC.

1.5 Opening statement by F. Guerrieri, FAO Representative in Viet Nam

Ms Guerrieri welcomed delegates on behalf of Jacques Diouf, Director-General of FAO.

Ms Guerrieri then noted the appreciation of delegates for the generosity of the government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam in hosting this 22nd Session of the Commission. She also thanked the session organizing committee for their effective efforts.

Ms Guerrieri announced that the government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam was the first member country who has recently officially deposited the instrument of acceptance of the amended Agreement of the Commission and she expressed the hope that remaining members of the commission would also give the same positive response.

1.6 Welcome address by N. A. van der Graaff, Chief,Plant Protection Service, FAO, Rome

Dr Van der Graaff thanked the Vietnamese government for the excellent organization of the meeting.

He referred to the changes that had occurred in the international phytosanitary framework due to the SPS Agreement and the amendment of the IPPC. This had changed the IPPC from a static convention to an active programme, which include international standard setting and a new drive to strengthen national phytosanitary capacity building. He noted that a very substantial international programme is unfolding under the guidance and direction of the ICPM.

The Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Agreement had to be amended subsequently which was concluded in 1999. It was noted that the SALB amendments however could not be submitted to governments before 2003. It was also noted that implementation of activities would be greatly helped if the 1985 amendments would come into force.

He noted the great concern on pesticide misuse and overuse in the region and the wide distribution of products that cannot be handled safely by small farmers. He referred to the FAO support on IPM programmes in the region and he congratulated Viet Nam on its IPM programme. FAO was proud to be associated with this programme. Work on pesticide regulations would benefit from harmonization.

1.7 Inaugural address by His Excellency Ngo The Dan, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

His Excellency Ngo The Dan extended a warm welcome to the key representatives from international, regional and national plant protection organizations.

The Vice Minister noted that Viet Nam is an agricultural country with the majority of its population living in rural areas. The national economy has therefore been strongly based on the agricultural sector. Over the past decade, thanks to profound economic renewal, great achievements have been made in agriculture.

As Viet Nam has been an official member of ASEAN and APEC, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has been assigned by the government of Viet Nam to formulate the development strategy for the agricultural sector.

In the present situation of economic globalization, the Vice Minister emphasized that international trade is growing rapidly in which plant quarantine plays an even significant part. Viet Nam realises the importance of strengthening national plant quarantine systems in order to not only effectively protect the sustainability of agricultural production, but also to satisfy quarantine requirements of importing countries.

The Vice Minister noted that for a large region like Asia and the Pacific, the regional and sub-regional standards would be very useful to member countries in a sense that these standards correspond to the region-specific need for preventing the spread of injurious pests while facilitating agricultural trade. The Vice Minister also hoped that the regional standard concerning the exclusion of SALB disease will be put forward after pest risk analysis is conducted.

The Vice Minster noted that countries in the region have different levels of development in terms of phytosanitary capabilities. Therefore, the commission can develop measures to enhance the capability of member countries in implementing international standards. Only by doing so could the objectives of the Agreement be fully achieved.

In conclusion, the Vice Minister declared the Twenty-second session of the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission officially open.

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