The New Revised Text of the IPPC was approved in 1997. Revision was undertaken to reflect contemporary phytosanitary concepts and the role of the IPPC in relation to the Uruguay Round Agreements of the World Trade Organization particularly the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement).
In particular the SPS Agreement identifies the IPPC as the organization providing international standards for measures implemented by governments to protect their plant resources from harmful pests (phytosanitary measures) while ensuring that phytosanitary measures are technically justified and are not used as unjustified barriers to international trade.
Although the IPPC has strong implications for international trade it has international cooperation for plant protection as its focus. Many forms of cooperation fall within the scope of the Convention. Its application to plants is not limited only to the protection of cultivated plants or direct damage from pests. The scope of the Convention extends to the protection of cultivated and natural flora as well as plant products and includes both direct and indirect damage by pests.
The New Revised Text of the IPPC (1997) emphasizes cooperation and the exchange of information toward the objective of global harmonization. In addition to describing national plant protection responsibilities it also addresses important elements of international cooperation for the protection of plant health and the establishment and use of International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs).
A major objective of the revision was to improve effectiveness in implementation. In this regard FAO has established a Secretariat for the IPPC in the Plant Protection Service Plant Production and Protection Division Agriculture Department. The IPPC Secretariat work programme is broadly focused in three major areas: