Group discussionsDuring the SADC Plant Protection Committee Meeting of 2009 and also at the 5th Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM-5) held in Rome in March 2010, the SADC Secretariat was requested by its member states to convene a training on information exchange in the framework of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the use of the International Phytosanitary Portal (IPP). To that end, a workshop was hosted by the South African NPPO with financial support from SADC.
Workshop participants included representatives of 12 National Plant Protection Organizations (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe), the SADC and IPPC Secretariats.
The workshop programme was a mix of presentations on information exchange and key standards, practical sessions on how to use the IPP and group discussions on how to meet national reporting requirements. During the group discussions, the participants examined each reporting category and identified challenges that may prevent countries from meeting the reporting requirement in question; parties that may be able exert influence and assist in overcoming the challenges; actions required to meet the reporting requirement and/or overcome challenges; and potential beneficiaries of the information. A summary of these discussions is given in the workshop report. (Click here to access the report.)
They noted that the flow of information can be impeded by lack of commitment or political will; ineffective communication between key partners; a lack of awareness regarding the importance of the IPPC and the nature of obligations under the IPPC; shortages in both staff and non-staff resources; and poor internet connectivity. The participants identified roles for the IPP editors, Contact Points, national governments, regional organizations and the IPPC Secretariat in addressing these problems.
Following the small group discussions, participants made lists of specific actions that their NPPOs would take to overcome obstacles and improve information exchange. These actions include the following:
compiling and publishing information in order to meet national reporting obligations; familiarizing national staff with the IPP and training additional IPP editors; establishing a national committee composed of the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the information exchange obligations are met and that the information provided is kept up-to-date; increasing collaboration with other countries of the region to avoid trade barriers due to introduction of pests of quarantine diseases subject; and raising awareness regarding the IPPC.
The workshop was an exceptional example of good cooperation between the SADC Secretariat, the SADC member states, the FAO subregional office in Harare and the IPPC Secretariat. As a consequence of this workshop, national reporting increased in all categories and existing information was updated on the IPP.
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