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IPPC-OIRSA ePhyto workshop strengthens plant health and safe trade in Latin America

Posted on Mon, 09 Oct 2023, 07:06

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Rome, 31 August 2023. The International Regional Organization for Animal and Plant Health (OIRSA - Organismo Internacional Regional de Sanidad Agropecuaria) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat, have embarked on a mission to strengthen international trade and improve plant health through the implementation of electronic phytosanitary certification. During a high-level IPPC-OIRSA workshop held from 28-31 August 2023 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, representatives from all nine OIRSA member countries- Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama, convened to discuss adoption of the IPPC ePhyto Solution.

This event marked a significant step towards optimizing plant health practices and easing global safe trade within the region and beyond.

In his opening remarks, Osama El-Lissy, IPPC Secretary, emphasized the vital role of electronic phytosanitary certification, which makes international trade safer, faster and more cost-effective. With 128 countries, including seven OIRSA member countries already adopting the IPPC ePhyto Solution, the potential for success in the region is significant.

Only El Salvador and Nicaragua are yet to adopt the IPPC ePhyto Solution and are expected to do so within the coming months. With this commitment, the region is expected to reduce the time and resources required to acquire export certificates, therefore benefiting governments, industries and producers.

Improving country plant health data management and sharing

The goal of the workshop was to expedite the adoption of digital phytosanitary certificates or ePhytos by connecting countries to the IPPC Hub or to the Generic ePhyto National System (GeNS), for those countries without country-specific IT systems. By promoting usage of ePhytos, the workshop aimed to enhance the efficiency and reliability of biosecurity protocols, ultimately fostering a conducive environment for international trade.

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This IPPC-OIRSA workshop strengthened the cooperation of OIRSA member countries to adopt the IPPC ePhyto Solution and provided a platform for knowledge sharing, with guidance from the United Nations International Computing Center (UNICC).

One important highlight of the workshop was Mexico emerging as an exemplary model of successful ePhyto adoption. Mexico's experience in exchanging ePhytos through the Hub resulted in the country reducing costs related to using paper certificates and associated processing delays, increased reliability, and set a good precedent for other countries.

The workshop strengthened and emphasized regional collaboration. Guatemala, as a GeNS user, actively advocated for its adoption and committed to supporting neighboring countries to adopt the IPPC ePhyto Solution for improved biosecurity at a regional level.

The workshop also raised the prospect of expanding these innovative solutions to support additional certifications such as animal health certificates, advancing regional and international trade facilitation. Going forward, the IPPC Secretariat and OIRSA will continue supporting all members countries to adopt and comfortably use the IPPC ePhyto Solution.

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