IRSS: How contracting parties can benefit from a support system

Posted on Wed, 22 Dec 2021, 13:25

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ROME, 22 December 2021. As contracting parties face challenges in implementing the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), a support system becomes increasingly vital. This was emphasized at a webinar held on 10 December to raise awareness on the IPPC Implementation Review and Support System (IRSS), a system available to all contracting parties to help them monitor challenges and take on recommendations for follow-up action.

IRSS responds to the need for information on challenges and emerging issues faced by National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) in implementing the IPPC, the International Standards on Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs), and recommendations of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM). The IRSS also conducts general surveys and studies that contribute to the larger chain of results of IPPC implementation.

“IRSS studies have been influential in establishing and implementing recommendations to the CPM,” said Brent Larson, IRSS Lead, speaking during the webinar. “We also did stronger links to the IPPC Strategic Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added. Since its inception in 2011, IRSS has conducted 15 studies, some of which have fed into the revisions of the ISPMs and have helped raise awareness of NPPOs on specific issues.

A 2012 IRSS in-depth study on the risk and uses of aquatic plants informed the adoption of recommendations for IPPC coverage of aquatic plants. Similarly, a study on internet trade in plants contributed to the CPM adoption of recommendation on e-Commerce which was then later integrated to the IPPC Strategic Framework 2020-2030.

Studies have also contributed to addressing emerging global issues, such as the study on authorizing entities to perform phytosanitary actions, a topic of debate in the IPPC community. This IRSS study contributed to the final adoption of ISPM 45, Requirements for national plant protection organizations if authorizing entities to perform phytosanitary actions.

Two studies are currently underway, including the “IPPC Study on the Use of Diagnostic Protocols.” Initial results showed that most contracting parties have already been using IPPC diagnostic protocols. Through responses to the questionnaire, they also showed interest in other diagnostic problems such as validation, verification and reference collection protocols for pest detection.

Another study, titled, ”Developing Guidance on Risk-based Border Management,” looks at how importation plays a role on how pests are introduced and spread in a country. Early results indicated the need for more efficient risk-based import inspection and how digital tools can be used. Countries who responded to the study are also considering a risk-based approach to categorization of goods.

Results of these two studies are expected to be published in the first quarter of 2022.

IRSS, which has been funded by the European Commission (EC) for nine years, was originally conceived as a system to monitor challenges in implementation, scan emerging issues and provide support to allow contracting parties to focus on effective implementation.

“By supporting IRSS, we were able to integrate the standards setting and the implementation aspects of the IPPC Secretariat’s work, allowing for the exchange of information and experiences, “said Roman Wagner, Plant Health Administrator at the EC. “It also provided the platform among EC member countries, and between the Secretariat and contracting parties, to discuss the advantages and challenges of ISPM implementation,” he added.

“Our work at IRSS has shown significant impact on the implementation of ISPMs and the adoption of CPM recommendations, thus, we are very grateful for the EC’s support for making this happen,” Brent concluded.

By May 2022, the IRSS should transition to a more sustainable arm embedded within the whole IPPC Secretariat.

Related links:

IPPC Implementation Review and Support System

IPPC Phytosanitary Systems

Recommendation on IPPC Coverage of aquatic plants

Recommendation on Internet trade (e-commerce) in plants and other regulated articles

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