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Phytosanitary Awareness Week: highlighting the role of the IPPC during the International Year of Plant Health

Posted on Wed, 18 Nov 2020, 15:21

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Rome/Ibadan, 13 November 2020. A successful 2020 edition of the Phytosanitary Awareness Week has concluded under the theme “Phytosanitary Safety for Prevention of Transboundary Spread of Pests and Pathogens”. The initiative, organized by Germplasm Health Units (GHUs) of CGIAR centres in collaboration with FAO, the IPPC Secretariat, and the support of Crop Trust and various national and regional plant protection organizations, took place virtually and attended by hundreds of participants worldwide throughout the week of 9 to 13 November 2020. The 2020 Phytosanitary Awareness Week was held in the context of the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH), with the aim to increase awareness of current phytosanitary challenges and inform scientists about recent advances in technologies, policies and procedures for international exchange of germplasm and biological material. The ultimate goal of the initiative was to ensure the distribution of healthy germplasm globally for food and agricultural research and development.

The opening session was chaired by Lava Kumar, Head of IITA Germplasm Health and Virology Unit and coordinator of the Germplasm Health component of the CGIAR Genebank Platform, and included a key speech by Jingyuan Xia, Director of FAO Plant Production and Protection Division. Xia provided an update on the delivery of the IYPH activities in 2020/2021, while emphasizing the IYPH objective to raise awareness of the need to protect plant health to achieve the UN 2030 agenda. “Plant pests and diseases cause up to 40% of global food crop losses and result in an economic loss of $220 billion in the trade of agricultural products”, Xia explained.

Sessions in subsequent days focused on plant health challenges in specific regions, including Africa, Asia and Latin America. The conclusion session was chaired by Mirko Montuori, Project Officer at the IPPC Secretariat. According to Montuori: “Plant health is indeed a global issue that affects the life of people. We need to make sure this is communicated properly in various ways and fora. Germplasm health contributes a great deal to plant health. The role of science and research will have to be kept central to inform policy.”

More on the Phytosanitary Awareness Week at the following links:

Video of the opening session: https://youtu.be/hrFRnoWcVbM

Video of the conclusion session: https://youtu.be/sqyVhMNs-Sc

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