Posted on Fri, 17 Sep 2021, 15:35
Rome, 3 September 2021. The 2021 IPPC Regional Workshop for the South West Pacific held a series of virtual workshops from 31 August to 3 September 2021. The event, chaired by Nacanieli Waqa, Vice-Chair of the Pacific Plant Protection Organization (PPPO), convened over 50 participants from 11 countries to discuss eight draft International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) and one CPM recommendation, implementation and other plant health issues of particular interest for the region.
The workshop opened with welcoming remarks from Avetik Nersisyan, IPPC Officer in Charge for daily matters, followed by an intervention from Xiangjun Yao, representative from the FAO Subregional Office for the Pacific Islands. During her speech, Yao emphasized the objectives of the workshop were to discuss draft ISPMs and phytosanitary capacity development issues, to raise awareness of the work of the IPPC Secretariat, as well as to facilitate the exchange of experiences of national plant protection organizations within the region.
Glenn Dulla, PPPO Chairperson, expressed appreciation for the strong cooperation demonstrated by PPPO member countries so far, while Peter Thomson, Director of Plants, Food and Environment at the Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand, and current South West Pacific CPM Bureau member also highlighted the need for resetting national and PPPO operations and processes due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. He also stressed the importance of improving contracting parties' participation and engagement in relevant phytosanitary activities and encouraged participants to engage in the workshop discussions.
Participants reviewed and developed regional comments on draft ISPMs and one CPM recommendation with the help of members from both the Standards Committee and the Implementation and Capacity Development Committee. In particular, participants discussed the revision of ISPM 4 on the requirements for the establishment of pest free areas and its harmonization with other standards on pest free areas. In addition, the Annex to ISPM 20 on the use of specific import authorizations from an implementation perspective, was central in the discussion as some Pacific countries have introduced specific import authorizations and some have not. Considerations were also given to the need for guidance in moving from specific to general import authorizations.
For regional phytosanitary capacity development, Yubak Dhoj GC, Senior Agriculture Officer at the FAO Regional Asia Pacific Office, introduced phytosanitary activities undertaken in the region, especially those that help address transboundary pests such as Fall Armyworm and desert locust. He also emphasized the importance of regional cooperation to deal with such pests and highlighted the successes of the International Year of Plant Health in terms of raising regional and global awareness of the importance of plant health.
Peter Thomson gave a presentation on competent authorities, including their definition, objectives, obligations, and application in the New Zealand’s context. Chris Dale, Assistant Director at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment of Australia, gave an update on Fall Armyworm and the activities of the FAO/IPPC Technical Working Group on Quarantine and Phytosanitary Measures aimed at limiting the spread of the pest to new areas. While discussing the importance of National Reporting Obligations, he confirmed new detections of Fall Armyworm in New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.
The PPPO endorsed the formation of a regional technical working group for Fall Armyworm and countries were encouraged to submit their nominations to take part in the group. Disna Gunawardana, Principal Scientist from New Zealand, presented New Zealand’s initiatives to help develop plant health capacity in Pacific countries. These include training, setting up facilities and creating an online library for diagnostics. The PPPO Secretariat also presented on the regional pest surveillance system and other regional plant health priorities. Before closing the meeting with a word of prayer, Viliami Kami expressed words of encouragement on the continued collaboration from all PPPO member countries.
Report of the 2021 IPPC Regional Workshop for the Pacific region [available soon]