FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Plant health is key to the establishment of One Health

Plant health experts meet to protect plants from harmful pests in the Near East and North Africa

August 3, 2021 - Every year, pests and plant diseases cause damage that reduce global agricultural production by between 20 and 40 percent, according to Dr. Abdulhakim Al-Waer, Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). For example, the recent outbreak of Fall Armyworm has caused an estimated $4.6 billion in losses in Africa alone.

To address this problem, international experts and representatives of the countries of the Near East and North Africa are joining forces through a virtual workshop that will be held from 3 to 10 August 2021. The workshop is organized in cooperation between the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), the FAO Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa, the Near East Plant Protection Organization, and the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture.

Experts will discuss ways to stop transboundary plant pests and diseases from entering and spreading in the region. This is particularly important given the scale of international trade in agricultural products. Experts will also discuss how to build plant health capacities, prepare regional opinions on the proposed International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs), and share best plant health practices. A special session will be held on the most important transboundary diseases that threaten food security in the region and ways to confront them through early detection and good management practices.

This workshop is one of seven annual regional workshops the IPPC holds worldwide in 2021 under the title "Plant Health and Environmental Protection".

His Excellency Iraqi Minister of Agriculture Muhammad Karim Jassim Saleh Al-Khafaji commented: “The Covid-19 pandemic taught us to break barriers and use modern technologies to facilitate the exchange of ideas and implement the international standards on the protection of plant health.”

For his part, Dr. Thaer Yaseen, FAO Regional Plant Protection Officer, said the workshop serves as an important annual forum enabling regional representatives of state parties to the IPPC to exchange views on the new ISPMs, which seek to impose coordinated and agreed measures globally to facilitate international trade while preserving national plant resources. These measures also aim to enhance regional efforts to monitor and respond to emerging threats to plant health, he added.

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International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)

The International Plant Protection Convention is an international treaty established in 1952 and overseen by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Its mission is to protect the world's plant resources by preventing the entry and spread of harmful pests.