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The official launch event of the International Year of Plant Health

Posted on Tue, 03 Dec 2019, 15:41

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Opening session of the Interntaion Year of Plant Health launch event ©FAO

Rome, 2 December 2019 - The official launch event of the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020 took place on Monday, 2 December 2019 at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy with the active participation of FAO staff members, governments, plant health experts from the IPPC community, and representatives of various stakeholder groups.

An encouraging opening speech from the FAO Director-General, Mr Qu Dongyu inaugurated the International Year of Plant Health. “Plants provide the core basis for life on Earth and are the single most important pillar of human nutrition”, remarked the FAO DG in his opening statement. “But healthy plants are not something that we can take for granted”, he added. FAO estimates that up to 40 percent of the global food crop production is lost every year due to plant pests and diseases, while climate change and human activities are posing new urgent challenges for plant health. “As we launch this international year, plant health is increasingly under threat”, recalled the FAO chief. Under the slogan “protecting plants, protecting life”, Mr Qu Dongyu pointed out that much still needs to be done to ensure plant health worldwide, calling on everyone to contribute to this global effort.

Mr Roberto Ridolfi, Assistant-Director-General for Programme Support and Technical Cooperation, who moderated the opening session of the IYPH launch event read out a message by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. “On this International Year and throughout this Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, let us dedicate the necessary resources and increase our commitment to plant health. Let us act for people and planet,” said the UN Secretary General, Mr António Guterres.

Opening remarks were given by Mr Edward Centeno Gadea, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Nicaragua; Mr Andrew Doyle, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Ms Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland; and Ms Tamara Finkelstein, Permanent Secretary of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

A high-level panel discussion was moderated by Mr Hans Dreyer, Director of the FAO Plant Production and Protection Division (AGP) and attended by Mr Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General of Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department; Mr Ralf Lopian, Chairperson of the IYPH International Steering Committee; Mr Michael Keller, Secretary-General of International Seed Federation; amd Mr Ulrich Kuhlmann, CABI Executive Director, Global Operations.

All the panelists stressed the urgency for all partners to join FAO and IPPC to share best practices and work hand-in-hand to make the International Year of Plant Health a remarkable global event. Finally, in his closing remarks, Mr Jingyuan Xia, IPPC Secretary, highlighted the major activities to be carried out in 2020 at global, regional and national level, and encouraged all stakeholders from all sectors to work together to sustain plant health and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Learn more:

FAO press release: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1253551/icode/

Webcast: http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/5162/icode/

Photo gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/faonews/albums/72157712033919993

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