Posted on Wed, 30 Jun 2021, 17:00
Rome, 30 June 2021. The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat gathered the plant health community together on 30 June to the second date of the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) webinar series “Paving the path to the International Plant Health Conference 2022’’. The webinar discussed the interlinkages between climate change, plant health and biodiversity that bridges the IYPH to the first International Plant Health Conference scheduled for May 2022, following its cancellation in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The audience had the pleasure to welcome Petteri Taalas, the Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, who delivered the keynote speech in which he highlighted latest information on the state of the global climate, weather and natural disasters and their linkages to plant health.. “Wildfires, extreme heat, drought, floods and pest outbreaks triggered by weather and climate conditions pose increasing threats to plant health worldwide,’’ said Secretary General Taalas in his speech, setting the scene for the technical panel of the webinar.
The following discussions focused on the impact of climate change on plant health, and reflected the IPPC’s role in assessing and managing this impact. The first technical panel continued discussions initiated by the launch of the FAO Scientific review of the impact of climate change on plant pests earlier in June.
The lead author of the study, Professor Maria Lodovica Gullino from the University of Turin, Italy presented the key recommendations of the scientific review in the webinar. In fact, the scientific review provides the IPPC community with several recommendations for action, including enforced international and multidisciplinary cooperation and research, inclusion of climate change considerations in pest risk analysis and intensified surveillance and monitoring activities, among others. “The FAO scientific review provides an excellent starting point for drawing conclusions and developing effective strategies to prevent and mitigate the impact of climate change on plant pests,” said the Professor.
The second technical panel focused on the nexus between climate change, plant health and biodiversity conservation. “Climate change, biodiversity conservation and plant health are centrepieces in our struggles to preserve the health and life of the human population by ensuring food security and a healthy and diverse environment. We must have peace with our environment in order to have peace in our societies,” said Ralf Lopian, Chairperson of the IYPH International Steering Committee in his opening remarks ahead the second panel.
Catalina Santamaria from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) highlighted the importance of international cooperation and synergies between biodiversity-related conventions as the international community works towards adopting the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The IPPC Secretariat has a longstanding relationship with the CBD Secretariat and has been a member of the Biodiversity Liaison Group since 2015. The IPPC community’s key concerns in the area of biodiversity are threats from invasive plant pests spreading to diverse and unique ecosystems as well as agricultural production. “The post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be key in helping us transform our relationship with nature and bring us closer to the shared vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050,” concluded Ms Santamaria.
The event was registered as an Independent Dialogue for the United Nations Food Systems Summit.. The findings will stream into the Summit and also provide input for the implementation of the IPPC Strategic Framework 2020-2030 development agenda item on assessing and managing the impact of climate change on plant health. The Bureau of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures has just established a focus group on climate change and phytosanitary measures to advance the work on the topic.
The IYPH webinar series aligns with the objectives of the IPPC Strategic Framework 2020-2030 and aims for continuous engagement of the international community to ensure global plant health awareness after the official closure of the IYPH on 1 July. The webinar series also aims to support the potential declaration of 12 May as the International Day of Plant Health by the United Nations General Assembly later this year. The topics of the next IYPH webinars in October and December 2021 will be announced soon.