Posted on Tue, 26 May 2020, 16:16
Rome, 25 May 2020 – Members and observers of the IYPH International Steering Committee (ISC) convened at their 8th meeting for the second time virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussions to advance the IYPH activities despite the COVID-19 pandemic were once again active, with 38 participants attending the meeting, including IYPH ISC members and alternates, IYPH Secretariat staff and FAO regional representatives.
The meeting was opened by the IPPC Secretary, Mr Jingyuan Xia, and chaired by the IYPH ISC Chairperson, Mr Ralf Lopian. In his opening remarks, the IPPC Secretary was glad to inform the participants that Zambia has taken the role of champion for the proclamation of the International Day of Plant Health (IDPH). The IYPH Secretariat has explored the international calendars on possible days to celebrate the IDPH. The ISC was invited to discuss and propose a date for the IDPH, which then would be brought forward in the process to the FAO Committee on Agriculture and from there to other FAO governing bodies and the UN General Assembly. The ISC decided to propose either 3 April or 12 May as the International Day of Plant Health, and to give the final decision-making to the CPM Bureau, which will consider the matter at their meeting on 4 June 2020.
The IYPH Secretariat also gave the members of the ISC an update on the communication activities for the IYPH, noting that there are many exciting new initiatives in the pipeline. An art and drawing competition for children is about to be launched, together with a children’s activity book. The IYPH communications plan has also been updated to be more fit-for-purpose during the COVID-19 pandemic and now includes an intensified social media plan. In addition, a monthly IYPH newsletter is in the pipeline.
The IYPH Secretariat reminded that the success of the IYPH also depends on partners echoing the campaigns and activities, and encouraged the ISC members to invite their partners to join the IYPH Friends page. The IYPH Friends are national, regional or other partners who spread the word of IYPH through their own media outlets, public events and campaigns. On the Friends page, also a call for national IYPH advocates, so-called #PlantHealth champions, has been opened for plant health experts and advocates at the national level. These champions would be nominated and managed by national plant protection organizations or other relevant authorities at the national level. The ISC is also looking for other social media influencers and activists to sustain the IYPH digital efforts.
he ISC also discussed the new possible dates for the International Plant Health Conference and the IYPH Closing Ceremony, which were both postponed due to COVID-19. New dates remain to be confirmed.
The IYPH ISC meeting report will soon be available at https://www.ippc.int/en/ph/iyphisc/