The IPPC Technical Committee Meeting on the ePhyto Project held in Argentina

Posted on Mon, 10 Oct 2016, 10:03

The IPPC Technical Committee Meeting on the ePhyto Project (PTC) was held at the offices of the Servicio Nacional de Sanidad y Cálidad Agroalimentaria de la República Argentina (SENASA) in La Plata, Argentina from 3-7 October 2016. The meeting, chaired by Mr Nico Horn, the chair of the ESG from the Netherlands, was attended by the members of the IPPC ePhyto Steering Group (ESG) as well as staff of the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC). Mr Shane Sela, the Project Manager for ePhyto, participated in the meeting on behalf of the IPPC Secretariat. The objective of the meeting was to advance the technical design of the ePhyto hub and generic ePhyto national system (GeNS).

The ePhyto Solution which is intended to assist contracting parties in implementing electronic phytosanitary certification by simplifying and harmonizing the processes of electronic certificate exchange is being developed under funding and assistance provided by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), Canada, the United States of America and the IPPC Secretariat. The GeNS is a component of the Solution which should allow developing countries without the technological infrastructure to begin exchanging electronic certificates by providing them with a simple system for the production and receipt of electronic phytosanitary certificate.

The UNICC provided the PTC with an update on the proposed detailed requirements for the design of the two systems. The PTC members worked with the UNICC to refine this design to ensure that it meets the phytosanitary needs of all countries. The work included defining exactly how the hub will operate in exchanging electronic certificates between NPPOs and defining the detailed work flows involved in the ePhyto certification process. It is expected that the design of the hub and GeNS should be complete by November 2016 allowing the UNICC to begin reviewing eligible software and hardware for use in the systems and then to begin the configuring the system for piloting which is expected to commence in April or May 2017.

The PTC also worked on mapping the elements of the phytosanitary certificate for export and the phytosanitary certificate for re-export t the system. This mapping involved identifying the specific information including codes that would be used in transactions by countries subscribing to the hub. The members also discussed their work with the countries proposed for piloting the system. Although the pilot is now delayed to 2nd quarter of 2017, countries intending to pilot the GeNS have begun working with the IPPC Secretariat and ESG members on assessing the business and technical changes in operations required to ensure a smooth transition to electronic certification. The assessment work will continue through 2016 and early 2017 leading to initiation of the pilot. The members also reviewed their Terms of Reference, which had expired. They proposed some revisions for consideration by the CPM bureau to align the terms with the work currently being done to establish the Solution.

The members elected Mr Peter Neimanis as the Chair of the ESG and PTC following Mr Horn’s 3 year term. The IPPC Secretariat thanks Mr Horn for his dedicated service and strong leadership over the years.

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