Posted on Mon, 08 Nov 2010, 09:10
International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) are recognized as the basis for implementing phytosanitary measures applied by Members of the World Trade Organization under the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement). ISPMs are developed through a consultative process with multiple opportunities for input by IPPC members. One of key moments for members to provide feedback is during the 100-day consultation period on draft ISPMs. Feedback given at this stage is incorporated into the draft standard that will be presented to the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures for adoption. Each year since 2001, regional workshops on draft ISPMs have been held to assist countries within a region to discuss and prepare national comments on draft ISPMs. In 2010 the IPPC Secretariat helped to coordinate and participated in workshops performed worldwide, except in Western Europe and North America. A total of 191 participants attended these regional workshops, representing 110 of the 176 contracting parties. All of the participants that responded to the post-workshop evaluation indicated that they had benefited from the experience (n=73), and most (96%) felt that their objectives in attending the workshop had been achieved. Meanwhile, only 65% felt that having attended the workshop would increase the likelihood of their country submitting comments on the draft ISPMs. Similar percentages felt that the workshop contributed to a better technical understanding of the draft phytosanitary standards (73%); a better understanding of the process for developing international standards (64%); and an increased knowledge of and confidence in the process of setting international standards (65%). The number of countries commenting fell short of the expectations set by the responses to the workshop evaluation. Only one third of the countries that participated in the regional workshops on draft ISPMs submitted comments on the draft standards. The number of countries submitting comments is lower in 2010 than in some past years. The Secretariat is following up with the workshop participants and the NPPOs which they represent to gather more information on activities following the workshop and how adjustments may be made in the future to better support the preparation of comments on the draft ISPMs.