Strengthening phytosanitary capacity through FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme

©FAO/IPPC Secretariat

24/11/2020 - 

Rome, 24 November 2020 - Within the framework of the FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat is implementing a global project to help developing contracting parties strengthen their phytosanitary capacity and implement the IPPC. 

Developing phytosanitary capacity is at the core of the IPPC mandate, as well as one of the three key pillars of the new IPPC Strategic Framework 2020-2030

With a contribution of over USD 2 million from the FAO-China SSC Programme, this joint global project aims at promoting international cooperation among participating countries and raising awareness of plant health at the global, regional and national levels. As highlighted by the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH), these efforts can help reduce poverty, protect the environment, promote food security and advance economic development. 

To date, the project has helped countries improve their national phytosanitary capacity and strengthen existing IPPC networks and communication channels. Since 2019, two high-level symposia have been organized in China, strengthening dialogue and collaboration among participating countries. Participants discussed their national phytosanitary systems and learned more about the functioning of relevant Chinese institutions. 

Given the strong collaboration between the IPPC Secretariat and the ten Regional Plant Protection Organizations that comprise its global network, the organization of the technical consultation of these organizations resulted as a success in 2019, thanks to the project. By supporting the organization of IPPC Regional Workshops and of National Reporting Obligations Workshops, over 80 countries submitted comments for draft international standards and 120 countries reported data on the National Reporting Obligation system, while 20 countries adopted the IPPC ePhyto solution to start exchanging electronic phytosanitary certificates. 

Innovative activities, such as the implementation of the Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation (PCE) trainings and demonstrations on key plant pests and diseases, are being conducted in Sri Lanka and Cambodia. The implementation of the PCE in Sri Lanka has reached an advanced stage, and trainings were delivered to manage fruit flies in the country. To mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IPPC Secretariat is exploring new options to keep conducting PCE virtually in these pilot countries. 

The project is also instrumental in supporting prevention activities for Fall Armyworm (FAW). This year, the FAO/IPPC Technical Working Group (TWG) for the Global Action for FAW control on "Quarantine and Phytosanitary Measures in Relation to Trade" was established and met four times to establish  its Terms of Reference, a three years action plan and a communication plan. This group is currently drafting guidelines to implement Phytosanitary measures for FAW where it is absent or of limited distribution, and a series of webinars will be organized on this topic in 2021.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the proclamation of 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) marked a significant achievement for the global phytosanitary community. With the IYPH, plant health has been officially recognized as a global issue significantly contributing to food security, trade facilitation, environmental protection and biodiversity. The FAO-China SSC project largely sustained this effort before and during 2020 by supporting the development of relevant communication and advocacy materials dedicated to plant health and the organization of key events and meetings devoted to IYPH.