FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Experts discussed international standards for phytosanitary measures

Plant pests and diseases don’t respect lockdown measures, instead they continue to move freely, crossing borders without halting. Yet, healthy plants are the basis of our health and food security.

The 2020 IPPC regional workshop for Europe and Central Asia, organized by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat in cooperation with the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization and FAO, came to an end today. The workshop has been proceeded by the regular annual IPPC consultations of the draft international standards on phytosanitary measures developed under the Convention.

During the workshop, plant health experts from 18 countries of Europe and Central Asia have exchanged information, concerns, and ideas to shape the regional dialogue on plant health matters. They reviewed the draft standards, discussed other issues pertaining to international cooperation under the IPPC, and took stock on the delivered activities foreseen by the 2020 International Year on Plant Health work plan.

Preventing pests and diseases from introduction and spread is more cost effective than dealing with a plant health emergency.

The regional workshop, running from 31 August to 1 September, drafted recommendation on the safe provision of food and other aid to prevent the introduction of plant pests during an emergency. Workshop participants gave an update on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected plant protection in their countries.

“According to FAO estimates, up to 40 percent of food crops are lost due to plant pests and diseases annually,” said Piotr Wlodarczyk, FAO agricultural officer. “This year was declared the International Year of Plant Health to raise awareness globally on how protecting plant health can boost food security, economic development, and environmental protection.”

Once plant pests and diseases have established, they are often impossible to eradicate, while managing them requires time and expenses. Prevention is critical to avoiding the devastating impact of pests and diseases on agriculture, environment, livelihoods, and food security.

The IPPC provides a platform for its contracting parties to agree on measures that help reduce the risks of pest movements between countries and continents, primarily with consignments on trade, but also through other pathways, such as food aid.

The regional workshop for Europe and Central Asia is part of a global series of plant health workshops covering all FAO regions that help participants understand the regional phytosanitary realities and challenges, and provide input for the IPPC global work plan.

1 September 2020, Budapest, Hungary