FAO Committee on Agriculture endorses proposal for an International Day of Plant Health

Posted on Fri, 02 Oct 2020, 11:57

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Rome, 1 October 2020. The FAO Committee on Agriculture endorsed the proposal tabled by the government of Zambia to proclaim 12 May the International Day of Plant Health (IDPH).

Plants are the source of most of the food we eat and the air we breathe, yet their health is often neglected. With globalization and increased international travel and trade, the opportunities for plant pests and diseases to move around the world has grown drastically. The movement of people and goods has radically increased over the past decades, and with it new pathways for pest introduction and spread.

The IDPH will provide continuity to the efforts made throughout the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020 and continue to raise awareness among the public and policy makers of the key role of plant health in tackling hunger, poverty, threats to the environment and economic development.

In commenting the decision, FAO Deputy Director-General Ms Beth Bechdol thanked the COAG Members and especially the Government of Zambia for their keen effort and continuing support to this proposal. She emphasized how the IYPH was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but ensured FAO’s highest attention and efforts to increase awareness of the importance of plant health.

COAG Members expressing their support to the proposal for the IDPH include Argentina, Australia, Cabo Verde, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, the European Union and its 27 Member States, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Sudan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Zambia.

In the words of Jingyuan Xia, Director of the FAO Plant Production and Protection: “The International Year of Plant Health was a five-year effort, so it is important to see wide support for its legacy. We need to continue the momentum for plant heath, which is a crucial component for the One Health approach and essential to achieve the UN Agenda 2030 for sustainable development”.

The proposal will be submitted for approval by the 165th Session of the FAO Council in December 2020 and for adoption by the 42nd Session of the FAO Conference in July 2021. The Committee stressed that the extra-budgetary resources should be identified to cover the costs for implementation of the Day, noting the importance of involving FAO and the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention.

At the same session, COAG Members also endorsed proposals for an International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (2026) an International Year of Date Palm (2027).

The full recording of the COAG session discussing the IDPH is available at the following link: http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/5369/icode/

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