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35
Information exchange and the International Phytosanitary Portal


Brent Larson

IPPC Secretariat, FAO of the UN, Viale Delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, Italy; e-mail: brent.larson@fao.org

Abstract

The IPPC Secretariat provides support for the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and coordinates the annual work programme put in place by the Interim Commission on Phytosanitary Measures. The three key activities of the Secretariat are: standard setting, technical assistance and information exchange. To facilitate the information exchange obligations laid out in the IPPC, the Secretariat adapted an existing Web-based environment to allow users to be able to both deposit and retrieve data from various sources. This Web site was named the "International Phytosanitary Portal" (IPP). This paper reviews the information exchange obligations outlined in the IPPC, briefly discusses the current developments of the IPP and gives an overview of the Secretariat's future plans to utilize the IPP Support Group to help develop this tool further. As the IPP continues to evolve every effort will be made to ensure that specific issues necessary for the management of invasive alien species are addressed.

IPPC obligations for information exchange

The IPPC Secretariat provides support for the International Plant Protection Convention and its contracting parties by carrying out three key activities: standard setting, technical assistance and information exchange. The information exchange obligations for contracting parties, as outlined in the 1997 revision of the IPPC (FAO, 1997), involve pest reports, the description of national plant protection organization, phytosanitary restrictions, requirements and prohibitions, points of entry, lists of regulated pests, emergency actions and official contact points. Table 1 shows which Articles in the convention cover these obligations for information exchange and the relevant text.

Development of the International Phytosanitary Portal

In order to facilitate these obligations, the IPPC Secretariat adapted an existing Web-based environment to provide a forum for contracting parties to easily enter the information from their own reporting obligations as well as access the information from other contracting parties. This Web site (www.ippc.int) was named the "International Phytosanitary Portal" (IPP).

An IPP Support Group was established and held its first meeting in January 2004. The group identified user needs for the development of the IPP. The following were identified as priorities:

Table 1: Information exchange obligations of contracting parties to the IPPC.

Information category

IPPC Article

Relevant text in Article

Pest reports

IV.2(b)

... the surveillance of growing plants ... and of plants and plant products in storage or in transportation, particularly with the object of reporting the occurrence, outbreak and spread ... including the reporting referred to under Article VIII paragraph 1(a);

VIII.1(a)

... cooperate in the exchange of information on plant pests, particularly the reporting of the occurrence, outbreak or spread of pests that may be of immediate or potential danger ...

Description of NPPO

IV.4

Each contracting party shall submit a description of its official national plant protection organization and of changes in such organization to the Secretary. A contracting party shall provide a description of its organizational arrangements for plant protection to another contracting party, upon request.

Phytosanitary restrictions, requirements, prohibitions

VII.2(b)

Contracting parties shall, immediately upon their adoption, publish and transmit phytosanitary requirements, restrictions and prohibitions to any contracting party or parties that they believe may be directly affected by such measures.

Points of entry

VII.2(d)

... The contracting party shall publish a list of such points of entry and communicate it to the Secretary, any regional plant protection organization of which the contracting party is a member, all contracting parties which the contracting party believes to be directly affected, and other contracting parties upon request. ...

List of regulated pests

VII.2(i)

Contracting parties shall, to the best of their ability, establish and update lists of regulated pests, using scientific names, and make such lists available to the Secretary, to regional plant protection organizations of which they are members and, on request, to other contracting parties.

Emergency actions

VII.6

... The [emergency] action taken shall be immediately reported to contracting parties concerned, the Secretary, and any regional plant protection organization of which the contracting party is a member.

Official contact points

VIII.2

Each contracting party shall designate a contact point for the exchange of information connected with the implementation of this Convention.

These improvements are currently being implemented, including a major upgrade that took place in September 2004. As the IPP continues to evolve every effort will be made to ensure that specific issues necessary for the management of invasive alien species are addressed.

For those interested in becoming involved in the IPP, a first step would be to provide the IPPC Secretariat with official NPPO contact point information. Then gather information for your country that helps meet IPPC reporting obligations in preparation for posting on the IPP. A manual for the use and entry of data into the IPP has been developed and is available for download or online use. This manual provides detailed instructions on how to post reporting obligations and other country information. In addition, several regional workshops are planned to train national staff on the use of the IPP. To find out more about the workshop dates and locations, go to the homepage of the IPP and click on "Calendar.".

Reference

FAO. 1997. Report of the 29th Session of the FAO Conference, Rome, Italy, 7 - 18 November 1997: Revised International Plant Protection Convention (available at www.ippc.int).


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