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Issues of global strategic importance for plant health

Issues of global strategic importance for plant health

Issues of global strategic importance were discussed during the October 2023 Strategic Planning Group (SPG) meeting of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), held at FAO Headquarters in Rome.

Issues of importance to Australia and the South West Pacific region included sustainable funding for ePhyto, progressing the important work of the Focus Group on the Safe Provision of Food and Other Humanitarian Aid, with Australia presenting two important interventions on behalf of the South West Pacific region on these topics. Discussions on how to maintain momentum for the International Day of Plant Health and emerging global plant pests, such as Fusarium Tropical Race 4 were also held. In preparation for the upcoming CPM 18 meeting, the terms of reference for future focus groups on global research coordination and laboratory networking as upcoming IPPC Strategic Framework priorities were discussed, along with the phytosanitary capacity evaluation tool and the vital work of the regional plant protection organisations. Given the importance of the SPG as a mechanism to consult and communicate with contracting parties, the need to better support greater participation at CPM and SPG meetings was also highlighted.

Plant health’s role in One Health was another area of consultation. It was acknowledged that while plant health is a fundamental contributor to animal, human and ecosystem health, its recognition in One Health has been variable.

The participants to the SPG, including delegates from Australia, Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith and Dr Sophie Peterson, encouraged the IPPC Secretary to more actively engage FAO and other global organizations to underscore the importance of plant health in the context of One Health, specifically the contribution the IPPC community is already making to the cause.

It was noted that a lot of work done through the implementation of the IPPC Strategic Framework 2020-2030 is already supporting and contributing to the concept of One Health, but it is not necessarily labelled as such and so is easily missed.

All of these issues and more will be discussed at the 18th Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM 18) in April 2024, and decisions made there will provide further guidance to contracting parties on an agreed path forward.

Gabrielle Vivian-Smith and Sophie Peterson at the SPG meeting of the IPPC in Rome. Image Credit: IPPC.

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