This week we’ve been reporting from the 12th session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures, which successfully drew to a close, having produced concrete tools to support plant protection through the adoption of 25 International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs). Under the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), the IPPC is recognized as the international standard setting body for plant health, and WTO members are encouraged to use these ISPMs to address phytosanitary concerns. When members apply these standards for plant protection, they are likely to be safe from legal challenge through a WTO dispute. A record number of ISPMs were submitted for consideration and adopted during the CPM, attesting to the continued demand for the development of standards.
The adoption of these standards was the culmination of many years of work involving a whole host of technical experts from around the world. It took over 12 years to reach agreement on one standard which details arrangements for verification of compliance of consignments by the importing country in the exporting country. Other topics covered by the new standards included the international movement of seeds, wood, growing media, used vehicles, machinery and equipment as well as phytosanitary treatments for the fumigation of wood, cold treatments for Mediterranean fruit fly on citrus, and vapour heat treatments for fruit fly pests of mango. Ten diagnostic protocols for key quarantine pests like Citrus tristeza virus and the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) were also adopted. Other CPM-12 accomplishments included the endorsement of the Sea Containers Complementary Action Plan, agreement on the establishment of the Implementation and Capacity Development Committee (a new committee to address implementation of the IPPC and phytosanitary capacity development which will bring the functions of some other groups under one umbrella), and support for a short-term approach for addressing emerging issues such as incursions of quarantine pests. This near-term approach calls for expanding information collection and sharing to assist member countries confronted by such pest outbreaks. Progress was also made on the IPPC Strategic Framework for 2020-2030 and preparations for the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) which is proposed to take place in 2020. Work in these areas is ongoing and interested parties are encouraged to provide comments on the draft Strategic Framework to the authors and to submit proposals for potential IYPH events through member countries’ regional representatives in the IYPH Steering Committee. The member countries were urged to liaise with their national contacts to support the proposal for an IYPH in 2020 at the upcoming 40th Session of the FAO Conference in July. This will be the last step before the proposal is submitted to the UN Economic and Social Council and the UN General Assembly for final approval.
The adoption of the report of the meeting marked the close of the 12th session of CPM, an event which was made truly exceptional by the impressive and innovative hospitality of the host country, the Republic of Korea. The Secretary of the IPPC noted the enormous effort put forth by the hosts and lauded the success of the event, and all of the CPM expressed its sincere thanks to the Republic of Korea.
Contributed by Melanie Bateman, CABI