It was decided that the CPM 12 will be held from 5-11 April 2017 in Incheon, Republic of Korea. This would be a big milestone event for the IPPC as it is the first time for the CPM to be held outside of Rome. For a better preparation and organization of the CPM-12, the IPPC Secretariat organized an advance team to pay an official visit to Incheon from 28 November to 2 December 2016, including Mr Craig Fedchock, IPPC Advisor, Ms Tanja Lahti, Administrative Support, and Ms Katarina Spisiakova, Administrative Support. The main objectives of the travel were to review the site in detail, ensure adequate hotel facilities, and work out details regarding host country and IPPC Secretariat responsibilities.
The first day of the visit involved meeting with the Republic of Korea’s team which takes responsibility for Korean preparations. This series of meetings included an extensive presentation on and tour of the Incheon Convention Center where the CPM itself will be taking place. Details investigated included security arrangements, room set-up and introductions to key personnel responsible for the various components of the event. The day concluded with site visits to hotels that will provide lodging for the CPM, as well as facilities available in those hotels for side meetings, regional group meetings, etc. While those types of meeting will have ample space at the Convention center, the Secretariat staff wanted to ensure adequate spacing is available for contracting parties to meet at each hotel venue. Should the need arise; any costs for those additional rooms will not be the responsibility of the IPPC Secretariat or the Korean government.
The second day was devoted to determining the venues for specific site visits. The Republic of Korea offered presented options including a visit to the Korean Animal and Plant Inspection Agency (QIA’s) headquarters as well as the Korean National Biodiversity Center, a unique facility where both research and awareness raising to the general public takes place. While the intent of the visit was to determine access issues, as well as adequacy of the facilities to host CPM attendees, the IPPC team was provided the opportunity to view the Korean electronic data exchange system in action. As 2017 is the year of “Plant Health and Trade Facilitation”, the Secretariat team looks forward to QIA’s participation in CPM events related to that theme.
The third and final days were devoted to additional discussions between the Secretariat representatives and QIA staff related to the set-up and actual carrying out of the event, such as numbers of staff needed to do certain things, gaining an awareness of some of the particulars of Incheon, Seoul and surrounding areas, as well as making sure local information for attendees is clear and adequate. While there is still a significant amount of work to be done, the advance team was able to establish a strong foundation for a smooth CPM.
The next steps to take place will be the final signature of the MOU between the Republic of Korea and FAO to hold the meeting, issuing invitation letters and completing the local information documentation, not to mention the other preparatory work that is a part of every CPM. Contracting parties are urged to begin taking steps to have the appropriate bureaucratic procedures occur even in advance of the official letter of invitation is sent.
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