14 July 2015. The IPPC Coordinator, Craig Fedchock, delivered the keynote speech at the Milan Expo conference on “Climate change and food security: challenges for plant health, plant breeding and genetic resources”, organized by the European Commission in the framework of the Milan Expo.
Mr Fedchock focused on the impacts and inter-relations of plant health, climate change and food security. The IPPC Coordinator noted that pests are nowadays unfortunately in the news due to the challenges posed to plant health, while more attention should be given to international regulations and good practices to address these challenges. Mr Fedchock noted how pests of plants have negative impacts on food security, environment and trade. Climate change will allow the establishment of pests in areas where they were not present before and according to recent studies, pests can extend their range with climate change. Additionally, it has been demonstrated in the case of the Emerald Ash Borer that pests have direct relations to human health.
As the world population is growing, there is a need to increase food production by 50% to feed the world. How are we going to do it? While this requires efforts both by the international community and individuals, the IPPC is ready to be part of the solution to tackle this overarching issue and especially pest risks associated with climate change. A proactive approach is needed for better border control and implementation of IPPC standards.
The four IPPC strategic objectives of food security, environmental protection, trade facilitation and capacity development were highlighted. The IPPC Coordinator emphasised the efforts by IPPC contracting parties to promote the proclamation of an International Year of Plant Health to address these objectives in the framework of plant health.
The seminar was introduced by Mr Michael Flüh, Acting Director Safety of the Food Chain, DG SANTE, who welcomed participants, and it was completed by the interventions of Mr Michael John Jeger, Chair of the European Food Safety Authority Panel on Plant Health, who talked on the Emerging risks on plant health: threats and opportunities for the European Union; Mr Jeroen Kavelaars, National Plant Protection Organisation of the Netherlands, who spoke on Inspection and control systems at the border; Mr Pieter Beck, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, who presented Early warning and monitoring systems to fight plant diseases.
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