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CPM-18 update: Revisions to phytosanitary standards and recommendation adopted

Posted on Mon, 20 May 2024, 07:15

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© FAO/Vladimir Rodas

Rome, 16 April 2024. The Eighteenth Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM-18) adopted four International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) to strengthen collaboration for global plant health and advance compliance with phytosanitary standards. CPM-18, which was held from 15-19 April 2024 in Rome, Italy, brought together over 400 delegates from contracting parties of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), to discuss the status of plant health worldwide and strategies to promote prevention and management of plant pests.

CPM-18 adopted 2022 amendments to ISPM 5 (Glossary of phytosanitary terms); Annex 1 (Criteria for evaluation of available information for determining host status of fruit to fruit flies) to ISPM 37 (Determination of host status of fruit to fruit flies ((Tephritidae)); revision of ISPM 4 (Requirements for the establishment of pest free areas) and Phytosanitary Treatment (PT) 46 (Cold treatment for Thaumatotibia leucotreta or False codling moth on Citrus sinensis), as Annex to ISPM 28 (Phytosanitary treatments for regulated pests).

To increase clarity and consistency in the understanding of terms and definitions used by contracting parties for official phytosanitary purposes, the 2022 amendments to ISPM 5 added to the Glossary the terms “specific surveillance” and “general surveillance” and revised the definition of “surveillance” following the revision of the ISPM 6 in 2018 as well as clarified the distinction between the terms “inspection” and “test”.

Annex 1 to ISPM 37 outlines the criteria for evaluating available information to determine the host status of fruit to fruit flies (Tephritidae), promoting consistency in the interpretation of the terms used in such information, to avoid trade disruption. It also explains the application of the host status of fruit to fruit flies when conducting pest risk analysis (PRA) for a fruit commodity. Adopted in 1995, ISPM 4 outlines the requirements for establishment and maintenance of pest-free areas (PFAs), which can be used as a pest risk management option to protect plant resources in a given area, for agricultural, forestry or ecological conservation purposes. This helps to facilitate safe trade and increase market-access opportunities for exporting countries.

Revision of ISPM 4 provides more consistent guidance to NPPOs on the initiation, establishment and maintenance of PFAs, considering new information and other ISPMs. The standard provides a framework in which NPPOs can set up a programme to ensure maintenance of PFAs, based on a regulatory framework to control the movement of regulated articles. This framework also supports surveillance, data collection, and outbreak detection and management.

Phytosanitary Treatment (PT) 46 focuses on cold treatment of fruit of Citrus sinensis, the sweet orange, to result in mortality of eggs and larvae of the Thaumatotibia leucotreta or false codling moth. False codling moth is a highly polyphagous pest whose larvae are usually intercepted on sweet oranges trees and among 50 other plant species. Oranges are an important economic crop, with global production of over 75 million tonnes, representing 46 percent of citrus fruit production.

CPM-18 also adopted the revised CPM recommendation 06 on minimizing pest risk associated with the sea-container pathway. This recommendation aims to provide guidance on managing pest risks associated with international sea container movements. It emphasizes collaboration among stakeholders and border agencies to harmonize pest risk management measures. It includes contextual information to accompany the key recommendations outlined in the document, including detail around the background to pest risks and the international sea container pathway, identification of shared responsibilities for stakeholders, a description of the types of risk presented by the international movements of sea containers and the need for further collaboration with border agencies at a national level to eliminate the risk of the development of conflicting or duplicate measures and contribute to a harmonized approach to pest risk management, thus enhancing plant health and minimizing trade disruptions.

The adopted revised standards and recommendation resulted from a series of fruitful transparent meetings and inclusive consultations among phytosanitary experts from all over the world, coordinated by the Standards Committee (SC), a CPM subsidiary body. The development and adoption of standards, recommendations, diagnostic protocols, and phytosanitary treatments is the core function for which the IPPC was formed, and the CPM convened. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) recognizes ISPMs, which are developed under the auspices of the IPPC, as the only international standards for plant health.

Adoption of harmonized phytosanitary standards ensures that all countries follow the same benchmarks and use common information to trade plant products safely and protect the environment. On average, it takes seven years for a standard to go through the four stages required for its development and adoption. Considering this long standards development period, and other factors such as the need for consensus throughout the process, CPM urged the SC, the Strategic Planning Group and the CPM-Bureau to explore avenues of speeding up the standards development process.

Delivering the SC report, Sophie Peterson, the SC Chair thanked contracting parties and regional plant protection organizations (RPPOs) supporting the work of the Committee and its technical panels. She highlighted budgetary constraints as a key challenge affecting the participation of some SC members.

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