PlantwisePlus Blog

Contributed by Melanie Bateman, CABI


Olive trees are under threat by the emerging pests, Xylella fastidiosa and Olive Quick Decline Syndrome. Photo: M Bateman

As the standard setting organisation for plant health, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) has long had an active, member driven programme to produce International Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs). Moving forward, the IPPC is putting more and more emphasis on supporting the implementation of the ISPMs and the Convention itself by member countries. To this end, the IPPC Secretariat is being structured into two main units: one focused on standards setting and the other aimed at facilitating implementation.

In 2015, the Commission agreed to undertake a pilot implementation project on surveillance, covering all ISPMs related to the topic. On 06 April 2016, the Secretariat gave an update on this pilot project. In addition, the side sessions at 11th Session of the Commission for Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) are intended to highlight surveillance in one way or another. One of the evening sessions on 05 April addressed innovations for early detection and surveillance of Xylella fastidiosa, a highly destructive emerging pest which is threatening olive production and other plant species in the Mediterranean Basin.

PERSEUS and surveillance case studies

On 06 April, a CPM side session delved further into surveillance approaches.¬† A representative of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) gave an overview of the cooperation project ‚ÄúPERSEUS‚ÄĚ. In Greek mythology, Perseus slayed the gorgon Medusa; in plant health, PERSEUS is the name of a project to examine the methodological aspects of surveys to identify their strengths and weaknesses. The report of the PERSEUS report is available on the EFFSA website: This presentation was followed by a presentation by the Latvian NPPO on its efforts to safeguard against fire blight, Erwinia amylovora. This included carrying out extensive surveillance and the establishment of an EU Protected Zone (Pest Free Area – PFA). The side session closed with a presentation by Chile on its extensive system for both general and specific surveillance.

Want to know more?

The presentations from the CPM side sessions will be made available on Many guidelines, manuals and protocols for surveillance are also available through this webpage.

Not sure what a ‚Äúpest free area‚ÄĚ is or what exactly ‚Äúsurveillance‚ÄĚ entails? Have a look at ISPM 5, the Glossary of Phytosanitary Terms:

Interested in finding out what other pest free areas have been established for fire blight or other pests? Then visit the page listing PFAs on the IPPC website:

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