IPPC Secretariat organized the first virtual meeting among RPPOs to discuss how to mitigate the COVID-19 impact on phytosanitary issues

Posted on Wed, 20 May 2020, 13:49

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Rome, 15 May 2020 – The IPPC Secretariat organized the first virtual meeting among the Regional Plant Protection Organization (RPPOs) to discuss how to move forward on the IPPC activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting was chaired and opened by the IPPC Secretary, Mr Jinyuan Xia, and attended by 28 participants and observers from all ten RPPOs, as well as all core team members of the IPPC Secretariat.

In his opening remarks, IPPC Secretary Xia welcomed new RPPO representatives from the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC) and Comite de Sanidad Vegetal del Cono Sur (COSAVE), and thanked all RPPOs for the active support to the IPPC activities.

Each of the RPPO representatives presented issues they are facing in regard to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on phytosanitary activities undertaken in their regions. Meeting participants provided also updates on how they are responding to the current emergency and exploring options to help ensure food security in such an unpredictable times. The RPPO representatives also presented their activities including helping build capacity of their members to improve the processes for implementing essential phytosanitary activities and promoting electronic certification as some of the solutions to keep protecting plant health and facilitating safe trade during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the global emergency, most of regional activities involving face-to-face meetings have been postponed.

Countries are successfully adapting to help ensure essential phytosanitary activities, such as surveillance, export certification and import checks, while ensuring the safety of staff. The RPPOs continue working remotely and remain in close contact with their members.

The IPPC Secretariat provided updates on governance, standards setting, implementation and facilitation, International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) and ePhyto, emphasizing that every effort is being made to help progress the work of the IPPC Secretariat and the IPPC community.

Due to the travel restrictions effective in many countries, the arrangements of the 2020 IPPC Regional Workshops remain suspended. Decisions will be taken at a later stage after monitoring the COVID-19 situation and collecting suggestions. It was also highlighted that interactions among countries, even virtually, would be helpful in order to discuss draft International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) or share ideas.

As many regional and national activities, including the IYPH related events, were postponed to 2021, the participants encouraged the IPPC Secretariat to be in close communication with the RPPOs and contracting parties when rescheduling the IPPC meetings in order to avoid overlapping.

An informal meeting of the RPPOs was proposed to take place on a monthly basis during this unusual times of COVID-19.

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