International travel and trade are greater than ever before — and as people and commodities move around the world, organisms that present risks to plants travel with them. Pest introductions and outbreaks cost governments, farmers and consumers billions every year. Once pest species are established their eradication is often impossible, and controlling them takes up a significant percentage of the cost of producing food. The IPPC allows countries to analyze risks to their national plant resources and to use science-based measures to safeguard their cultivated and wild plants. By protecting plant resources from pests and diseases, the IPPC helps:
Contracting parties to the IPPC share the same goal: to protect the world's cultivated and natural plant resources from the spread and introduction of plant pests while minimizing interference with the international movement of goods and people. The IPPC provides an international framework for plant protection that includes developing International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) for safeguarding plant resources. ISPMs developed as of 31 July 2009 include standards for:
The IPPC also provides information exchange related to import and export requirements, pest status and regulated pest lists provided by each member country. Developing countries also receive technical assistance to support their ability to implement the Convention and the ISPMs. While the IPPC’s primary focus is on plants and plant products moving in international trade, the convention also covers research materials, biological control organisms, germplasm banks, containment facilities and anything else that can act as a vector for the spread of plant pests — for example, containers, packaging materials, soil, vehicles, vessels and machinery. Contracting parties to the IPPC agree to promote technical assistance to other contracting parties. In particular, the Convention encourages support to developing countries to improve the effectiveness of their National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) and to participate in regional plant protection organizations, to help them realize the benefits of safe trade.