Posted on Mon, 25 Feb 2019, 10:32
You cannot protect the environment without also safeguarding plant health. When plant pests and diseases spread into new areas they seriously damage entire ecosystems, putting at risk biological diversity and the environment itself. Tiny and lethal at the same time, plant pests and invasive alien species have been recently identified as the main driver of biodiversity loss. Pests are also responsible for losses of up to USD 220 billion in agricultural trade each year and the loss of 40 percent of the global food crop production.
Climate change is making the situation even worse. It is changing the life cycle of pests - sometimes increasing the number of yearly generations - and creating new niches where they can thrive. In this critical scenario, coordinated and concrete actions among the global plant health community are indispensable.
The recent declaration of the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020 by the United Nations General Assembly is a good starting point for raising awareness of the vital role played by plants in our everyday lives. It will also draw attention to how protecting plants from pests is vital for addressing major global challenges, including hunger and poverty, and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
For more information see the IPPC factsheet on Plant Health and Environmental Protection available at: