Posted on Fri, 04 Feb 2011, 09:10
CPM participantsThe International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), hosted by FAO, aims to facilitate trade in agricultural products while preventing the spread of pests. Exporters, such as those of vegetables and fruits in developing countries, depend on international rules such as the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) to be able to access markets such as Europe or North America. It is an important area as international agricultural trade is worth around US$600 billion a year and pest damage to crops worldwide runs into billions of dollars.
Everyone who is going to do international trade will have to follow the standards, says Arundel Sakala from Zambia, where growing exports of miniature vegetables and cut flowers creates employment.
The European Union helps developing countries participate in the standard-setting process of the convention, governed by the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures. When the commission met at FAO headquarters in Rome in 2010, Arundel Sakala and Charles Zarzour were among 70 delegates who received financial assistance to attend. For us, it is very important to be able to contribute to the process, to discuss and give our point of view, says Mr Zarzour.
Another delegate to a previous meeting of the CPM, Paul Jallah from Liberia, came to Rome to get acquainted with the know-how of standard setting and help his country revitalize its economy with exports of rubber, palm oil and timber. If Liberia is to exploit fully its export potential, he says, it should adopt the convention standards. Jallah attended for the first time. This is a beginning, I hope.
The European Union (EU) has agreed to an increased annual contribution of Euro 300,000 for 2011-2013 to the IPPC Secretariat to improve IPPC contracting party participation in the IPPC standard setting process. This builds on annual EU contributions since 2003 to support the participation of more than 470 participants in the IPPC work programme over the past 8 years. Such funding ensures increased developing country participation in the Commission of Phytosanitary Measures (CPM - the IPPC governing body) where new international standards are adopted annually, the Standards Committee (SC) where new standards are developed for the consideration of the CPM, and some regional workshops where feedback is obtained on new draft ISPMs. Participation in such meetings also ensures increased technical expertise is developed at a national level and countries can better understand how to efficiently maximise their participation in the IPPC standard setting programme, and best implement the IPPC and new International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs).