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Message by IPPC Secretary Jingyuan Xia in the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity 2019

Posted on Tue, 21 May 2019, 18:05

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Rome, 22 May 2019

The mission of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is to protect cultivated and wild plant resources from pests, thus prompting food security and environmental protection while facilitating safe trade.

On this International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB), the IPPC community stands together with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and other biodiversity-related conventions to strengthen global commitments to preserve nature, enhance food security and facilitate safe trade.

This year s IDB theme: Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health links together nature with human health and well-being. Plants make up 80 percent of the food we eat and produce 98 percent of the oxygen we breathe. Invasive Alien Species that are plant pests are responsible for the loss of up to 40 percent of global food crops, and for trade losses exceeding USD 220 billion in agricultural products annually.

Plants are components of the environment, and plant health is an essential element in environmental protection. Healthy plants ensure healthy environment. This is not only for the concept of carbon capture but also for their function as the habitat that provides the sustenance of life for another level of life of the trophic chains that have plants as their first link.

FAO estimates that agricultural production must rise by about 60% by 2050 in order to feed a larger and generally richer population. This cannot be achieved without healthy plants.

We urgently need to raise awareness of the importance of plant health in protecting the environment and preserving biodiversity and we call upon the biodiversity community to work to maximize the impact of our standards.

The International Year of Plant Health declared by the UN General Assembly for 2020 is a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development. It will also highlight the vital role of national and regional plant health organizations in protecting plants from deadly pests and diseases.

The IPPC high-level symposium on cooperation of phytosanitary measures among the Chinese Initiative One Belt countries to be held 27-30 May 2019 in Xi-An, Shaanxi, China, is another initiative linked to the IYPH and IDB that strengthens the implementation of International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures adopted within the remits of the IPPC.

This is ideally another step towards advancing on the road to China , the fifteenth Conference of Parties to the CBD, where the global environmental community will shape the post-2020 process for the Global Biodiversity Framework. Our generation has the power to revert the worrying decline of biodiversity. Let us do everything is in our hands to protect plants and nature to ensure food and well-being for all.

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