Posted on Tue, 13 Jul 2021, 14:21
©FAO/Mohammad Rakibul Hasan
Rome, 7 July 2021. The IPPC Secretariat held its 2021 mid-year meeting virtually. The meeting was attended by all staff members and was opened by Mr. Jingyuan Xia, Director of Plant Production and Protection and the IPPC Secretary Officer in Charge. The core management team presented briefings from all units that was chaired by Mr. Avetik Nersisyan, IPPC Acting Officer in Charge. In the mid-year assembly, team leaders delivered updates on their main results for the first half of the year, and staff members discussed the IPPC survey results used to identify strengths and weaknesses for making improvements for a better and more efficient IPPC Secretariat team.
In his opening remarks, Director Xia noted “Plant health is of vital importance and we need to do our best to protect it”. He praised the IPPC community at large, and gave his utmost appreciation for the efforts and accomplishments of the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) campaign and how it elevated the IPPC’s work at the global level despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The remarkable legacy of the International Year of Plant Health will continue to highlight plant health as the UN General Assembly considers a proposal for an International Day of Plant Health on 12 May of each year, commented the Director.
Mr. Xia noted the IPPC ePhyto Solution resource facilitates safe trade, secures the exchange of phytosanitary certificates, and expedites phytosanitary clearance of plant products at ports of entry. As a result, more countries than ever are registering for the IPPC ePhyto Solution, and have begun exchanging electronic phytosanitary certificates (ePhytos) regularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IPPC Secretariat implemented digital solutions and new approaches during the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering new alternatives for contracting parties to access important IPPC resources digitally. For example, the Standard Setting Unit reported that countries are now using the Online Comment System (OCS) to revise drafts and submit calls for topics.
The Implementation and Facilitation Unit highlighted the work on new capacity development guides and training materials, including new e-learning courses in cooperation with COMESA and COLEACP. The Integration and Support Team is facilitating the organization of governance meetings using digital means and making full use of the website, which is now available in all six FAO official languages, and social media accounts, in addition to planning for the potential International Day of Plant Health and related webinar and IYPH report activities.
The second segment of the virtual meeting focused on improving the IPPC Secretariat from outcomes of the employee survey. Mr. Arop Deng, Integration and Support Team leader presented the outcomes of the survey to the IPPC Secretariat before Mr. Nersisyan presented the recommendations from the management team. Facilitators Alejandra Jimenez-Tabares, Aoife Cassin, and Marko Benovic encouraged staff to participate in discussions of survey results transforming them into actionable priorities by the management team. The areas of discussion included management and IPPC structures, gender equality, staff, communication and collaboration between units, and collaboration with the IPPC community and FAO.
In his conclusion remarks, Acting IPPC Secretary for daily matters Mr Nersisyan commented on the major achievements of the first half of 2021, and implementing final agreement on steps forward for the future. He expressed his sincere gratitude and high appreciation to all of the IPPC Secretariat for their active engagement and positive contributions to making successful completion of all tasks of the first semester. Mr. Nersisyan also encouraged the entire IPPC Secretariat staff to work continuously toward strengthening the team spirit for a better and more efficient IPPC before closing the meeting.