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Posted on Thu, 18 Mar 2021, 14:18

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©FAO/Sumy Sadurni

Rome, 18 March 2021. Communication and international cooperation are among the core activities of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) established by the newly adopted IPPC Strategic Framework 2020-2030. Over the past two years, the IPPC Secretariat has strengthened collaborations with several external organizations, ranging from UN and international organizations, industry and NGOs, academia and research institutions, and regional plant protection organizations to promote plant health, the IPPC and its standards amongst various stakeholders. As the proclamation of the International Year of Plant Health has widely demonstrated, protecting plants and agriculture from plant pests and diseases is critical to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to solve many global challenges.

In appreciating and noting the report of communication and advocacy activities carried out by the IPPC Secretariat in 2019 and 2020, and the IPPC Secretariat’s communication and advocacy action plan for 2021, the fifteenth session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM-15) has recognised the importance of international cooperation and partnerships as indispensable components of the IPPC work programme. Collaboration with key international actors can in fact contribute to determine how protecting plant health through the implementation of international standards helps ensure safe trade of agricultural products, safeguard the environment and biodiversity from invasive alien species, and combat food insecurity and hunger. Developing joint work programmes and activities with partners, such as CABI; the Convention on Biological Diversity; the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation; the International Atomic Energy Agency; the United Nations Environment Programme; the World Customs Organization; and the World Trade Organization, amongst many others, has certainly contributed to recognize the importance of IPPC standards over the past two years.

Furthermore, the International Year of Plant Health helped raise global awareness of the importance of plant health amongst governments, the private sector, farmers and agribusinesses, and the general public. To maintain the momentum around plant health beyond 2020, the CPM-15 endorsed a Strategic Planning Group’s proposal to renew the IPPC communications strategy and align it with the IPPC Strategic Framework 2020-2030. Additionally, to provide guidance and lead this process, CPM-15 established an ad hoc focus group on communication, accountable for drafting and supporting the implementation of a new IPPC Communications Strategy (2022-2030) to be presented for adoption at the sixteenth session of CPM in 2022.

The newly established focus group on communication will be responsible for developing initiatives and campaigns to raise global awareness of plant health and the work of the Convention among selected target audiences, including internal and external stakeholders. It will also help mobilize resources for the implementation of IPPC communication activities, while engaging with the IPPC community, relevant FAO divisions, partner organizations and donors. The launch of the study on the impact of climate change on plant health on 1 June; the IYPH webinars on 29 and 30 June; the closing event of the IYPH on 1 July 2021; along with the proclamation of an International Day of Plant Health, are some of the IPPC key activities that will require substantial communication efforts in the upcoming months.

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