Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a query about the IPPC please check to see if the answer is here by clicking on the questions below. If you can't find an answer to your question, please contact us

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Please note that questions regarding import, export and phytosanitary certificate issues need to be addressed by NPPO contact points. Only they are able to respond to information requests and communicate on phytosanitary issues on behalf of their country. Here is a list of official contact information for NPPOs. Thank you!

Website Issues

The www.ippc.int website layout seems broken // I believe I am seeing a less than current version of a page on www.ippc.int

Please try clearing your browser cache before contacting us. Here are instructions on how to do this for several web browsers.

Also please note that although you can access www.ippc.int with any web browser, we are no longer supporting Internet Explorer versions 7 or 6 due to numerous amounts of bugs and security issues with these browsers and you may have layout issues when using them. We recommend upgrading to the latest Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Firefox. If you are using IE 9 or later, make sure you turn off "Compatibility View".

Advocacy

Is an IPPC media kit available?

Here is what we have so far. We are working to develop more advocacy materials for various audiences.

Managing Information on www.ippc.int

I can’t remember my password. Can you please send it to me?

If you are already a site member and have forgotten your password please do the following:
  1. Go to www.ippc.int and click "Login" on the top-right of the screen.
  2. Click on the "Request new password?" link above the login form.
  3. Enter your username or the email address associated with your www.ippc.int account and click on ‘E-mail new password’.

A link to reset your password will be sent to your email address. Please note that some email systems remove message from the IPPC as spam. If you do not receive the login information please check your email software’s spam folder.

Note: Please remember to visit "My Account" and "Edit" to actually change your password after clicking the link.

How do I change my password?

  1. Log in to your work area
  2. Click on the "Change Password" link
  3. Enter your current passsword in the "Current Password" field
  4. Enter a new password in the "Password" field, and enter the same new password again in the "Confirm password" field.
  5. For best security using a strong password comprising of the following is recommended:
    • At least 6 characters-long
    • Does not contain your username
    • Contains a number, a capital letter, and non-alphabetic character such as . , ; : * % ! ~ - + = ^ ? "

How do I update my contact information?

  1. Log in to your work area
  2. Click on "Edit Contact & Account Information".
  3. A form opens that enables you to edit your account information. Using this form, you can also add a brief biography, information regarding your expertise or a photograph. If you need to change your official title or country, you need to contact us.

Can you post Country / NPPO information on www.ippc.int for me?

The Secretariat does not undertake this function on behalf of countries as we do not have the resources to undertake this for countries and we have been advised that if we do this and there are problems with the data, legal liability could then rest with the IPPC Secretariat / FAO.

Please remember the CPM agreement that countries are recommended to use www.ippc.int to disseminate official IPPC information to fulfill their information exchange obligations under the IPPC. The CPM requested the Secretariat to build www.ippc.int so that a single posting would allow all of us to meet all our reporting obligations under the IPPC.

Updating country information can be done exclusively by either the country’s NPPO’s Official Contact Point or a nominated IPP Editor. We encourage you to contact the country’s Official Contact Point and request that this information is added. If you are the Official Contact Point or IPP Editor of the country, we encourage you to upload a copy of this information to your country’s page on the IPPC website. To do this you will need to:

  1. Log in to the IPPC website
  2. Click on one of the links such as ‘Publication’ under ‘Create new’ in the sidebar
  3. Complete the form, including attaching any files, and click ‘Submit’ on the bottom of the page

What is an ‘IPP Editor’? How do I nominate an ‘IPP Editor’?

National data can be entered into www.ippc.int country pages by the each country’s Official Contact Point. IPPC Contact Points can also nominate IPP (International Phytosanitary Portal) editors to undertake data entry on their behalf.

To nominate an IPP Editor for your www.ippc.int country page we need to be emailed or faxed a signed IPP Editor Nomination Request for NPPOs form.

Working in Groups

How do I access the restricted work area and download documents?

  1. Log in to your work area
  2. Click on Work Area Pages under Working Groups & Bookmarks
  3. Work Area Pages accessible to you (if any) are listed to the right. Click on the name of the work area page to access it. If there are sub-pages you can click on the [+] symbol to expand the list.
  4. A table listing any documents posted to the working group should appear. You may need to scroll down to see it, and you may want to click on the ‘All’ button below the table to see all documents. To download a document directly, click on the two letters next to the icon in the Publication column of the table
    (e.g: ‘En’)

Links inside Word documents take me to a ‘Page not found or User not logged in’ page, even though I am logged in.

In some versions of Microsoft Word when a link is clicked it does not work. If the link is instead copied from Word and pasted to the web browser’s address bar, it should work.

How do I access and participate in forum discussions?

Please note that www.ippc.int forums are currently in testing and available for working groups in the restricted area only.

  1. Log in to your work area
  2. Click on Work Area Pages under Working Groups & Bookmarks
  3. Work Area Pages, including forums accessible to you (if any) are listed to the right. Click on the name of the work area page or forum to access it. If there are sub-pages you can click on the [+] symbol to expand the list.
  4. Any forums available to the working group should appear as links, usually labeled ‘Forum’. Click on the forum link.

Phytosanitary Regulations & Legislation

Can you help with import, export and phytosanitary certificate issues?

Questions regarding import, export and phytosanitary certificate issues need to be addressed by NPPO contact points. Only they are able to respond to information requests and communicate on phytosanitary issues on behalf of their country. Here is a list of official contact information for NPPOs.

Standards (ISPMs)

Where can I find information on countries implementing ISPM 15?

Many countries have provided specific answers to the following questions: whether ISPM 15 has been implemented for imports or exports and if so, which version (2002 or 2009); whether wood packaging is regulated differently than outlined in ISPM 15; whether the mark has been registered in the country; where to find national legislation and/or relevant websites; and who to contact for more information regarding ISPM 15.

This information has been compiled into following table.

IPPC contact points are able to respond to information requests and communicate on phytosanitary issues on behalf of their country. Here is a list of official contact information for NPPOs.

Is it possible to download a document/book containing all ISPMs?

The Secretariat will no longer be posting the adopted ISPMs as a single book (formerly known as the Book of Standards). Instead, we will only be posting them individually. Here is the complete list of adopted ISPMs.

I can’t find an ISPM in the language I am looking for.

ISPMs may not be available in all languages for a period of time after CPM. This is because they are revised by FAO translation services as is custom after adoption. In the meantime, should you wish to consult the standards, the *non revised* language versions can be found under the list of CPM documents.

What are the benefits of registering the ISPM 15 symbol?

The ISPM 15 symbol enjoys a widespread use and recognition worldwide. The symbol has a significant impact on many industries and, consequently, on national economies and at the international level. The symbol, therefore, has great economic value for all, and the potential consequences of failing to protect the ISPM 15 symbol are profound.

Registration provides the highest level of protection for the symbol, and helps shield countries from trade disruptions and related negative economic impacts. In addition, registration is a fundamental part of the common effort of FAO and IPPC signatory countries to ensure effective management of the trade in wood packaging material, to prevent the introduction and spread of pests and diseases that are harmful to plant resources worldwide. Prompt registration will help achieve global ISPM 15 coverage, and ensure phytosanitary security in the global trade system.

Registration through FAO is easy, efficient and convenient for countries because FAO handles all aspects of the registration, as described below.

What are the consequences of non-registration of the ISPM 15 symbol?

Failure to register the symbol will undermine the integrity of the entire ISPM 15 system worldwide. The current gaps in registration pose a significant risk from a global plant health perspective, and from legal and commercial standpoints. The fact that some countries do not ensure proper registration creates a risk of opportunistic or malevolent use of the symbol by third parties, with consequent adverse effects on international trade, national economies, and phytosanitary security.

Legally, registration of the mark provides the most complete protection and gives the most effective legal tools should actions against a third party become necessary.

Why does FAO own the ISPM 15 symbol?

Most national laws require that an entity be entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that any product or service bearing a certification symbol like the ISPM 15 meets the required characteristics. Consolidated ownership of the symbol in one entity ensures a consistent management and monitoring of the symbol worldwide.

FAO is an impartial guardian and promoter of phytosanitary security and seeks to ensure countries’ common interest in effective and fair use of the symbol. It is also responsible for administering the IPPC, under which the symbol was developed. By virtue of its ownership of the symbol, FAO fulfills the functions described above, and protects the symbol’s warranty function, thus helping ensure fairness in international trade.

Which countries should register the ISPM 15 symbol?

Any country where the symbol has not yet been registered should do so.

How does registration of the ISPM 15 symbol work?

As endorsed by the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM), the registration will be handled by FAO.

The CPM has planned that all outstanding registrations should be completed within a period of five years. During this timeframe, FAO will process individual registrations gradually, in accordance with a set of criteria established by the IPPC Secretariat. FAO will inform countries when it initiates the registration process for them. It will then handle all administrative and legal procedures required for registration, until completion. FAO will notify the concerned country when the registration process is over.

Why should countries renew registration of the ISPM 15 symbol?

Expiry of the symbol’s registration means that the legal protection for the symbol no longer exists.

Renewing the symbol’s registration will ensure the benefits described above continue to apply, thus ensuring continuity, fairness and efficiency in international trade, and increased phytosanitary security worldwide.

How much do registration and renewal cost?

The cost of registration and/or renewal varies from country to country. Upon request, or through the reimbursement process (see below), FAO will provide information about the cost to the country.

How to reimburse FAO for expenses related to registration or renewal?

The CPM has encouraged countries to reimburse FAO for costs incurred in the process of registering or renewing registration of the ISPM 15 symbol for countries. At the beginning of the registration or renewal process, FAO will inform them of the corresponding cost and the reimbursement process. They will then have the opportunity to confirm their willingness to reimburse FAO for the costs incurred.

After receiving each reimbursement, FAO will issue an official receipt, if requested.

Other ISPM 15 questions?

Please direct any additional queries concerning registration to IPPC@fao.org with subject ISPM 15.

Online Comment System (OCS)

What is the website for the OCS?

Please visit the OCS at http://ocs.ippc.int/index.html

What are the system requirements?

You must install Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari and the Adobe Flash plugin 10.1 or newer to access the OCS.

I have not yet received my username and password for the OCS. Can you please send it to me?

The IPPC Secretariat only manages OCS user accounts for the IPPC Contact Point. Your Contact Point has already received his/her username and password and can create a user account for you. Please request an account from your Contact Point.

I can't remember my username and/or password. Can you please send it to me?

If you are already a OCS user and have forgotten your password or username, please do the following: Go to http://ocs.ippc.int/index.html and click on "Forgot your password?" or "Forgot your Username?". Enter your email address in the field and click "Submit". You will receive an email with a link to reset your password or a reminder of your username. Note that some email systems consider messages from the IPPC OCS (IPPC-OCS@fao.org) as spam. If you do not receive the login information please check your email software s spam folder.

I am an IPP Editor. How do I gain access to the OCS?

The IPPC Secretariat only manages OCS user accounts for the IPPC Contact Point. Your Contact Point has already received his/her username and password and can create a user account for you. Please request an account from your Contact Point.

I would like some personal training on how to use the OCS. Can you help me?

The IPPC Secretariat is more than happy to provide training. To arrange a training session, please send an email to IPPC-OCS@fao.org. Before you begin, please follow the Preparation Instructions for OCS Training.

Is there a user guide for the OCS?

Yes, here.

Who do I contact for Technical Support and suggestions for new features and improvements to the OCS?

Either go to the OCS at http://ocs.ippc.int/index.html and click on the "Contact the Webmaster" link at the bottom of the page or send an email to IPPC-OCS@fao.org.

IPPC Contact Points

Is there a list of contact information for all IPPC contact points?

Contact information for all contact points is available here. It is also possible to extract this information as a CSV file.

How do I nominate a new Official Contact Point?

The easiest way to nominate of new IPPC contact Point is to get the outgoing IPPC contact point to make the nomination before they leave office. This can be communicated via officialletter, the IPPC nomination form (following hte procedures outlined below) or more easily via an official e-mail from the IPPC contact point.

Failing that, to nominate an Official Contact Point for your www.ippc.int country page we need to be emailed or faxed a signed IPPC Official Contact Point notification form.

Article VIII.2 of the Convention requires contracting parties to designate a contact point, and therefore it is the contracting party which is responsible for making, and informing the Secretariat of the nomination. There can be only one contact point per contracting party. The contracting party, by making the nomination, agrees that the nominee has the necessary authority to fulfill the functions of the contact point as determined within the framework of the IPPC, consequently the notification of the new contact point must be signed by the relevant person more senior than the new IPPC contact point. Individual persons cannot appoint themselves as contact points. See more information on the Role of Contact Points.

I have received error messages when sending email messages to an IPPC contact point. Would it be possible to update the email addresses on the contact lists?

Whenever communication problems are identified, notify the IPPC Secretariat and we will liaise with the NPPO to ensure that the contact information is up-to-date. National contact points are responsible for maintaining their own information up-to-date.

Why are some contact points listed as being "unofficial"?

An ‘Unofficial contact point’ represents a contracting party but has failed to comply with one of the criteria for the designation of an official contact point (e.g. the IPPC Secretariat was not informed of the change in contact point through someone more senior in the government, more than one person was nominated, the contact point is self-appointed).

Reporting

How do I notify my trading partners of new information that I have reported through www.ippc.int?

A section at the bottom of all forms for national reporting enables IPPC Contact Points and Editors to directly notify selected recipients whenever they make changes or additions to their NPPO page.

Potential recipients of these notifications include the IPPC Official Contact Point for trading partner nations, representatives of RPPOs, and the IPPC Secretariat. Once selected, recipients will automatically receive an email notifying them when a change has been made to the NPPO webpage along with a link to the part of the NPPO page that has been modified. In this way, the selected recipients are made aware of updates to contact information, the addition of pest reports, the publication of phytosanitary regulations, etc, and this is more consistent with the reporting requirements of the IPPC.

To use the Notification tool, please follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your work area
  2. Open the form to add or update information.
  3. At the bottom of the form is a section labelled the ‘Notifications Tool’:
    • If you wish to notify others of the availability of new information, you must select recipients the first time you use the notification tool. Your selection will then be saved as your default recipient list.
    • Once you have selected your default recipient list, to send out notifications in the future you can select Yes, send to default recipients.
    • If you do not want to notify others of changes, select No, submit without notification.
  4. Click submit

Adherence to the IPPC

How do countries adhere to the International Plant Protection Convention?

Countries that are not contracting parties to the IPPC and who wish to become so, need to deposit (submit) their instrument of adherence to the IPPC with the Director General of FAO. Download the model instrument of adherence

The original (including original signature and national stamp) and duly signed Instrument of adherence should be sent to the FAO Director General.

Director General of FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla,
00153 Rome
Italy

The original is usually sent through the FAO Representation (FAOR) in the country. If there is no such representation it should be sent through the regional or sub regional FAO representation addressed directly to the Director General of FAO.

Communications regarding the submission of the Instrument of adherence should be copied to:

  • The Secretary of the IPPC - IPPC@fao.org
  • The FAO Legal Service
  • FAOR in the country or the Regional/Sub-regional FAO representative

These are the steps for an Instrument of Adherence to be accepted:

  1. The original instrument is received by the Director General.
  2. The Legal Service performs the functions for depositing the Instrument (includes registering adherence).
  3. Formal communication is made to the country of acceptance of its Instrument of Adherence.
  4. The world is notified of the adherence of the country through the International Phytosanitary Portal (IPP - www.ippc.int).
  5. The CPM announces the new contracting party at the meeting of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures following the date of adherence by the country.

Who should sign the Instrument of Adherence?

Who signs the letter of adherence to the IPPC is an internal legal issue-essentially it is the person who has legal authority to sign onto conventions on behalf of a country. The instrument of adherence is usually by signed by the Head of State, the Head of the Government, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, or the Minister / Officer who is responsible for signing international treaties on behalf of the government (for example the Minister of Agriculture). Sometimes governments need authority / approval from parliament before they can sign such new conventions.

Contracting Parties

How can I find a list of all contracting parties of the Convention?

The list of parties, the dates which they adhered and all declarations and reservations are given on the following publication from FAO's Legal Office: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/legal/docs/1_004s-e.pdf

How much does membership to the IPPC cost?

The International Plant Protection Convention does not require member countries to pay any fees.

Why are there more contact points listed than there are contracting parties?

Some territories have designated contact points.

Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation (PCE)

What is the Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation (PCE)

The PCE, or Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation, is a management tool designed to help a country to identify both strengths and gaps in its existing and planned phytosanitary systems.

What Are the Benefits of the PCE?

The PCE generates a snapshot of a country’s phytosanitary capacity at a particular time, and provides a framework for rational strategic planning. The PCE allows for the prioritization of activities/resources to fill capacity gaps and enhance the effectiveness of the overall phytosanitary system. Strategic plans developed through the PCE also provides the basis for dialogue with donors of development aid and thus improve the likelihood of access to further funding.

How is the PCE Applied?

The entire PCE process is under the control of the country – it is not something that is done TO a country, it is a framework that the country adopts for its own purposes and benefits.

The PCE is a modular online software system consisting of 13 semi structured questionnaire type modules that can be selected and applied in total or in clusters according to the preferences of the national plant protection organization (NPPO).

The process is implemented through a consensus driven and confidential process amongst concerned stakeholders (public and private) to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the phytosanitary system. The PCE contains strategic planning tools that guide users to develop a strategic framework consisting of logical frameworks for each module which together are used to develop a national phytosanitary action plan (NPAP).

The results are intended to be used by NPPOs, and more broadly by government agencies, as a basis to identify capacity building or infrastructure needs and actions to address them. These are not publicly released unless a country wishes to use or present their PCE results externally. The PCE is designed to be implemented at a pace defined by the country over a number of weeks. The IPPC recommends that a complete PCE be applied every 3-4 years.

Who Should Be Involved in Conducting a PCE?

The process is driven by staff of the NPPO but should involve non-NPPO representatives from appropriate government agencies, research institutes, universities, agro-industries or import/export associations, etc. The IPPC recommends involvement of a knowledgeable and experienced facilitator.

When Should a PCE be Applied?

The PCE can be applied in total or in parts and as frequently as needed. It is a good compliment to the national planning process of the NPPO. When seeking external funds for phytosanitary development it is recommended that the project be formulated on the basis of the results of the PCE.

How is a PCE Financed?

Some contracting parties are capable of financing the process unilaterally, e.g. from the national budget. In other situations, donors may pay for the application of the PCE. The IPPC does not fund the application of a PCE but works in close collaboration with donors to provide the support for the application of a PCE when requested. In all cases some counterpart resources should be considered and allocated at the na tional level to undertake planning, stakeholder identification and resource allocation for workshops to support and ensure that the PCE process is successfully completed.

Abbreviations and definitions

Abbreviations and definitions

  • APPPC - Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission
  • CAN - Comunidad Andina
  • CBD - Convention on Biological Diversity
  • CDC - Capacity Development Committee
  • CEPM - Committee of Experts on Phytosanitary Measures
  • COSAVE - Comite Regional de Sanidad Vegetal Para el Cono Sur
  • CPM - Commission on Phytosanitary Measures
  • CPPC - Caribbean Plant Protection Commission
  • DP - Diagnostic Protocol
  • EPPO - European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization
  • ECCT - Expert Consultation on Cold Treatments
  • ELISA - Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assey
  • ePhyto - Electronic Phytosanitary Certification
  • EPPO - European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization
  • EWG - Expert Working Group
  • FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • GMO - Genetically Modified Organism
  • GRO - General Rules of the Organization
  • GWG - Glossary Working Group
  • IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency
  • IAPSC - Inter-African Phytosanitary Council
  • ICPM - Interim Commission on Phytosanitary Measures
  • IPP - International Phytosanitary Portal (the www.ippc.int website)
  • IPP-SG - IPP Support Group
  • IPPC - International Plant Protection Convention
  • IPPC-FC - Finance Committee
  • IRSS - Implementation Review & Support System
  • ISC - Interim Standards Committee
  • ISO - International Standards Organization
  • ISPM - International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures
  • IWG - Interim Working Group
  • LMO - Living Modified Organism
  • LRG - Language Review Group
  • NAPPO - North American Plant Protection Organization
  • NEPPO - Near East Plant Protection Organization
  • NPPO - National plant protection organization
  • NRO - National reporting obligation
  • NROAG - National Reporting Obligations Advisory Group
  • NRT - New Revised Text (of the International Plant Protection Convention)
  • OCS - Online Comments System
  • OIE - Office International des ? pizooties- the World Animal Health Organization
  • OIRSA - Organismo Internacional Regional de Sanidad Agropecuaria
  • OEWG - Open-ended Working Group
  • PCE - Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation
  • PFA - Pest free area - an area in which a specific pest does not occur and in which this condition is being officially maintained
  • PPPO - Pacific Plant Protection Organization
  • PRA - Pest risk analysis - the process of evaluating scientific and economic evidence to determine whether a pest should be regulated and the strength of any phytosanitary measures to be taken against it
  • PT - Phytosanitary Treatment
  • ROP - Rules of Procedure
  • RPPO - Regional plant protection organization
  • RSPM - Regional Standard for Phytosanitary Measures
  • SBDS - Subsidiary Body on Dispute Settlement
  • SBDS - Subsidiary Body on Dispute Settlement
  • SBSTTA - Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice
  • SC - Standards Committee
  • SC-7 - Standards Committee Working Group of 7
  • SPG - Strategic Planning Group
  • SPS - Sanitary and Phytosanitary
  • SPTA - Strategic Planning and Technical Assistance (informal working group)
  • TCP - Technical cooperation programme
  • TOR - Terms of Reference
  • TP - Technical Panel
  • TPDP - Technical Panel on Diagnostic Protocols
  • TPFF - Technical Panel on Pest Free Areas and Systems Approaches for Fruit Flies
  • TPFQ - Technical Panel on Forest Quarantine
  • TPG - Technical Panel for the Glossary
  • TPPT - Technical Panel on Phytosanitary Treatment
  • TRG - Triennial Review Group
  • UN/CEFACT - United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business
  • UNECE - United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
  • WCO - World Customs Organization
  • WTO - World Trade Organization
  • XML - Extensible Markup Language