The development of the Plant Protection Profiles (PPProfiles) for APPPC countries is still in its early stages. As evident from the available profiles, the information in many sections is still incomplete or missing, and it may take some time until all data are filled in. At this time, some of the information may not yet be readily available or may require extra efforts to obtain. In some countries, the preparation of the PPProfiles requires the inputs of several organizations which may take some time to organize.
Even with these shortcomings, the current PPProfiles represent an important step toward a more systematic information exchange among APPPC countries. Having decided on a format for the profiles, APPPC and the national plant protection organizations can now focus their attention on consolidating and refining the data collection. Ultimately, the PPProfiles must prove useful to its users to order justify the investment in efforts and resources. This, however, can only be determined after a period of a few years during which they have been regularly updated and completed by all APPPC member countries. It is therefore important for all countries to collaborate.
Hopefully, during this period, the national organizations will find the profiles useful for their own information management and keep them updated according to their own needs; in addition, the APPPC Secretariat may test the usefulness of the profiles by preparing regional and country by country comparisons for distribution to its members. It can be expected that during this period of use and refinement, some of the present questions may be eliminated while new ones are added. The final format of the PPProfiles will thus naturally emerge during this period.
Use of multiple information channels
Responding to the increased international demand for accurate and updated country information as well as using modern communication technologies, PPProfiles could be made available and shared in many different ways.
Instead of preparing lengthy country reports, delegates to the APPPC biannual meetings could simply update the information in the PPProfiles. The country presentations during the plenum would primarily highlight key changes since the last meeting, while standing committees would review the datasheets for an assessment of the plant protection situation in the region. After the meeting, the APPPC Secretariat would post the PPProfiles on its website for easy access.
Some APPPC member country plant protection organizations have already their own websites with information about their services. The PPProfiles may either be used as a guide for preparing the country information, or they may be added as additional, regularly updated summary pages.
Furthermore, the information in the PPProfiles could also be disseminated separately for the particular plant protection function. For example, the country phytosanitary profile could become part of the International Phytosanitary Portal (IPP) of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), or IPP could provide links to the PPProfiles published elsewhere.
Ultimately, APPPC may explore a Wikipedia-style open regional knowledge database for plant protection, if financial and staff resources are available, as an expansion of the PPProfiles or could contribute to FAO’s Best Practices Wiki1. The database could focus on major pests (in connection with EcoPort2 ) or on important crops grown in the region. This format would provide an opportunity to bring together specialists from various institutions, including research and universities, to contribute to the development of plant protection in the region.