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The UN International Year of Plant Health 2020 and protecting plants from invasive alien species: Side event at COP 14

Posted on Tue, 11 Dec 2018, 08:58

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The IPPC helps safeguard biodiversity by protecting the environment from invasive alien species such as the water hyacinth. This and other related topics were presented at a Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-14) side event. ©FAO/L. Lizzi

19 November 2018, Sharm El Sheikh - The International Year of Plant Health 2020 and the IPPC s work in protecting plants from invasive alien species were highlighted during a side event at the 2018 Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD - COP 14) held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

The side event called the 2020 UN International Year of Plant Health and progress on achieving Aichi Target Nine took place on 19 November 2018. Presenters at the event explored the links between plant health and biodiversity; the impact of invasive alien species on agriculture and plant health; and the importance of fostering a synergetic approach between plant health and environmental protection.

Mr Shoki Al-Dobai, from the IPPC Secretariat, highlighted that FAO estimates that up to 40 percent of global food crops, worth USD 220 billion in trade of agricultural products are lost annually due to plant pests. He explained how plant health and the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) contribute to biological diversity.

Mr Al-Dobai then gave updates on progress made towards the proclamation of the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020 by the UN General Assembly. Ms Pauline Eid, a member of the IYPH Steering Committee on behalf of the Near East and North Africa (NENA) Region, underlined the importance of this initiative and how the IYPH could contribute to protecting biodiversity and the environment.

For more information, see Mr Al-Dobai s presentation at:

The side event was organized by the IPPC and CBD Secretariats, together with the Invasive Species Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-ISSG). More than 40 participants from different countries and organizations were present.

The side event aimed to create an alliance among all stakeholders to celebrate 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health and the completion of the UN Decade on Biodiversity. Mr Al-Dobai informed participants that an IYPH partners coordination meeting would take place in Rome, Italy in April 2019 back-to-back with the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM-14) session. He invited all interested organizations wishing to collaborate with the IPPC Secretariat in promoting IYPH 2020 to attend this meeting.

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