Key messages from the IPPC Secretariat on plant health and Covid-19
The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is an inter-governmental treaty signed by 184 countries, aiming at protecting the world's plant resources from the spread and introduction of pests, and promoting safe trade. The Convention introduced International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) as its main tool to achieve its goals, making it the sole global standard setting organization for plant health. The IPPC Secretariat has developed a series of key IPPC-relevant messages and answers addressing the recent Covid-19 outbreak and lessons that can be learned from it for the global phytosanitary community. The purpose of this message is to provide IPPC-relevant information concerning the COVID-19 contagion. 1. Prevention is always better than cure!
It is an unfortunate coincidence that during the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) in 2020, the Covid-19 global outbreak is showing the world how adopting preventive measures is essential to secure countries from the introduction and spread of devastating human diseases. The Covid-19 pandemic is proving that prevention is always better than cure, and this applies to the health of humans, animals and plants.
"The best science tells us, if countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response, we can go a long way to mitigating transmission", said the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). Science-based preventive actions, including quarantine measures to contain invasive virus threats are indispensable to protect the health of people, animals and plants alike. 2. International travel and trade: viruses do not bring passports to cross borders, but plants and other regulated goods require phytosanitary certificates
Viruses and diseases do not take passports when moving from one country to another but are most often spread unintentionally by people and goods moving in trade. Promoting conscious and prudent behaviours among members of the public is essential to reach a common global goal and secure health at different levels. People moving around the globe may be an unintentional vehicle of infection, carrying viruses and plant diseases. With globalization and the resulting increase in international travel and trade, plant pests of different kinds are more likely to be moved across borders with consignments and travellers and spread these pests at alarming rates. The current Covid-19 outbreak is showing us that the world must be extra careful with travel of people and be ready to tackle any emergency. In the area of plant health we must also facilitate the safe trade of plants, plant products and other items, such as sea containers that can allow pests to be spread. Detection or quarantine are indispensable security measures to contain an epidemic - be it a human, animal or plant health emergency. 3. What are the risks for inspectors inspecting consignments to certify exports or verify import requirements are met?
Inspectors of consignments at the border may be exposed to sanitary risks. For health and safety concerns regarding consignments, please refer to the WHO guidelines on how to protect human health during the Covid-19 outbreak: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
The IPPC Secretariat also suggests making use of the IPPC electronic certification (ePhyto) wherever possible.
NPPOs and inspection staff may refer to the following sources:
4. What happens if a phytosanitary certificate for a consignment is delayed?
During these unprecedented times, many delays are occurring due to forces beyond the control of NPPOs and industry. Where possible, the IPPC Secretariat encourages countries to be as flexible as possible. Due to the numerous cancellations of flights and subsequent port delays caused by the coronavirus, some IPPC members are experiencing a situation in which the phytosanitary certificate (PC) for a consignment does not arrive in time for the inspection or in accordance with their internal time limits between inspection and issuance or inspection and export. Some countries are encouraging their trading partners to physically send their Phytosanitary Certificates with the consignments to avoid delays.
The IPPC Secretariat would also encourage making use of any activity that can ensure a consignment can be processed in a timely manner during this situation. Additionally, the IPPC Secretariat encourages those countries using the IPPC ePhyto Solution to make maximum use of this tool for purposes such as this, especially for countries that have the ability to receive PCs electronically and already have the infrastructure in place to go paperless. Countries are encouraged to notify the IPPC of their status in this regard and via the collaboration tool available on the ePhyto Hub. For those countries that have not yet begun using the system, we would suggest that you investigate the implementation and use of the Generic ePhyto National System as a possible means of ensuring the delivery of consignments in an efficient and timely manner. 5. Protecting plant health is essential for food security, particularly in emergency situations
Plants are a primary source of income for nearly half of the global population and make up 80% of the food we eat. The current Covid-19 outbreak experience highlights the need to ensure that plants are protected from the ravages of plant pests. The trade of plants and plant products creates wealth and supports economic development in many countries of the world. However, one of the potential consequences of this global emergency is the possibility of disrupted trade, which could in turn compromise access to a safe and stable supply of food. This is why taking steps to ensure a safe supply of fresh food and protecting plants from pests is now more important than ever.
While Covid-19 is affecting human health worldwide, plant pests and diseases continue to pose a threat to food production. It is particularly important at this time to not let down our guard and always remember that a threat to plant health is a threat to the health and prosperity of people, especially the most vulnerable. In this critical situation, we are all vulnerable and protecting plant health becomes vital for our own wellbeing. This is the noble goal for which the IPPC was created, as expressed by the IYPH slogan: "protecting plants, protecting life". 6. Pest outbreaks and economic losses: "Pay a little now or pay a lot more later"
Don’t wait - act now to prevent pest outbreaks! A global economic slowdown is one of the results of this pandemic. In general, prevention costs less than treating and eradicating an outbreak. This is true for both human and plant health. "Acting now to avert a crisis is a more humane, effective and cost-effective approach than responding to the aftermath of disaster", UN authorities have stressed. If infections / infestations and outbreaks affecting both human and plant health are not detected and controlled in time, the eradication of a disease can take several years and cost millions of dollars, if it can be contained at all. What is now happening with Covid-19 at the public health level is similar to what is going on in African countries tackling the Desert Locust plague. According to FAO, the cost of responding to the impact of locusts on food security alone will be at least 15 times higher than the cost of preventing the spread of this insect. 7. Health is a global issue: the crucial role of the international community
Global coordination is essential to tackle the Covid-19. It is time for the international community to act more decisively in a coordinated manner. When a virus like the Coronavirus has an outbreak in one country or a few distant territories, the international community must take notice and develop a rapid and coordinated response. Adopting divergent measures could be even more catastrophic for countries living in an emergency.
Prevention, Preparedness, Public health, Political leadership and People are the top 5 P-words the WHO DG called the world to focus on when considering this Covid-19 pandemic.
The plant health community can learn a lot from this and that is why it is important for countries to follow the IPPC International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures when setting their national phytosanitary measures, thus harmonizing measures at a global level. Sharing knowledge and best practices is essential to face global crises and combat common enemies. We strongly encourage you to take technically justified measures to protect Plant Health as another warning from the current emergency.
Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM – 15)
This is to inform you that, given the current COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, considering the travel restrictions being implemented by many countries and to ensure the safety and health of all participants, the fifteenth session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM-15) has been postponed.
The new dates of the CPM-15 session are 29 June - 3 July 2020. Please note that the invitations sent by the FAO Director-General remain valid, as well as nominations and registrations already sent and done.
The agenda, meeting papers and schedule will remain the same. The Ministerial segment will be held on 2 July 2020.
Concerned participants will be contacted individually to re-arrange their tickets and hotel accommodation as required.
We invite you to regularly check the IPPC website for further updates: www.ippc.int. Please note that the present meeting date may be also subject to change due to the evolving situation which will be notified in due course.
We remain available should you require further information.
International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) are standards adopted by the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM), which is the governing body of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The first International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) was adopted in 1993.
As of December 2019, there are 42 adopted ISPMs, 29 Diagnostic Protocols and 32 Phytosanitary Treatments. These international standards:
Protect sustainable agriculture and enhance global food security
Protect the environment, forests and biodiversity
Facilitate economic and trade development
This page includes all adopted International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs). ISSN (series title of ISPMs in the six FAO languages):
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The IPPC Standards Committee (SC) in November 2019 agreed to include this message on the potential for false positive results:
The described PCR methods may produce positive test results with P. paracitricarpa and P. citriasiana. In the event of a positive PCR test result, culturing of the fungus and multi-locus sequencing as described in Guarnaccia et al. (2017) is needed in order to achieve reliable identification of P. citricarpa.
Note: the Secretariat has posted a revised English version on 2014-04-28, to reflect the addition of PT-15, adopted at CPM-9. Updates of language versions will follow.
The treatments presented in the annexes to the ISPM 28 are included in the IPPC Phytosanitary treatments search tool that allow sorting based on treatment type, target pests and commodities.
Additionally, the search tool returns results from phytosanitary treatments that are not adopted by the CPM but posted on the phytosanitary resource page as "contributed of resources".
Portuguese translation provided by MAPA, Brazil. Vietnamese translation provided by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dong Da, Viet Nam
Portuguese translation provided by MAPA, Brazil. Vietnamese translation provided by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dong Da, Viet Nam. Italian translated by the Regional Plant Protection Service, Regione Emilia Romagna, Direzione Generale Agricoltura
Portuguese translation provided by MAPA, Brazil. Vietnamese translation provided by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dong Da, Viet Nam Korean translation provided by Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Rep. of Korea
Portuguese translation provided by MAPA, Brazil. Korean translation provided by the National Plant Quarantine Service, Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Korea Vietnamese translation provided by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dong Da, Viet Nam
Portuguese translation provided by MAPA, Brazil. Korean translation provided by the National Plant Quarantine Service, Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Korea and translated from 2012 version
This standard provides guidance on the production, maintenance and phytosanitary certification of pest free potato (Solanum tuberosum and related tuber-forming species) micropropagative material and minitubers intended for international trade.
This standard does not apply to field-grown propagative material of potato or to potatoes intended for consumption or processing.
Korean translation provided by the National Plant Quarantine Service, Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Korea Vietnamese translation provided by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dong Da, Viet Nam
This standard describes general guidelines for the design and operation of post-entry quarantine (PEQ) stations for holding imported consignments of plants, mainly plants for planting, in confinement in order to verify whether or not they are infested with quarantine pests.
Korean translation of ISPM 34:2010 (provided by the National Plant Quarantine Service, Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Korea)
This treatment applies to the irradiation of fruits and vegetables at 92 Gy minimum absorbed dose to prevent the reproduction in adults of Conotrachelus nenuphar at the stated efficacy. This treatment should be applied in accordance with the requirements outlined in ISPM 18:2003.
This treatment applies to the irradiation of fruits and vegetables at 232 Gy minimum absorbed dose to prevent the emergence of adults of Grapholita molesta at the stated efficacy. This treatment should be applied in accordance with the requirements outlined in ISPM 18:2003.
This treatment applies to the irradiation of fruits and vegetables at 232 Gy minimum absorbed dose under hypoxic conditions to prevent oviposition of Grapholita molesta at the stated efficacy. This treatment should be applied in accordance with the requirements outlined in ISPM 18:2003.
Please note that the term search is done from the FAO home page available at http://www.fao.org/faoterm/en (change interface language as needed by selecting the language desired at the top of the page). Go to the list of collections on the right, ‘Deselect all’ (the button next to the word ‘Collections’) and select the Phytosanitary glossary only. Now, type the term you are looking up in the search window and switch between the different search options if needed.
You can learn more from our FAQ and Help pages:
This reference standard is a listing of terms and definitions with specific meaning for phytosanitary systems worldwide. It has been developed to provide a harmonized internationally agreed vocabulary associated with the implementation of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs).
2019-04-30: ISPM 5 in En containing CPM-14 amendments has been posted.
2018-06-22: ISPM 5 in En containing CPM-13 amendments has been posted.
2017-05-29: ISPM 5 in En containing CPM-12 ink amendments has been posted.
2016-07-06: All language versions have been posted.
2016-05-20: The Secretariat posted the English version of ISPM 5 as adopted by CPM-11 (2016). Other language versions to follow.
2015-05-21: The Secretariat noticed a few errors in the posted ISPM 5 in English, corrected them and reposted the document.
2015-05-21: ISPM 5 has been posted (and reposted) in all languages. French and Spanish versions have both been updated with ink amendments approved by CPM in 2013, and all other language versions have been updated with ink amendments approved by CPM in 2015.p>
ISPM 5 in English contains asterisks to indicate which terms are currently on the List of topics for IPPC standards for revision or deletion.
Portuguese translation provided by MAPA, Brazil. Korean translation provided by the National Plant Quarantine Service, Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Korea and translated from 2012 version German translation provided by the Julius Kühn-Institut, Germany Italian translated by the Servizio Fitosanitario Regionale, Regione Lombardia
This standard describes principles and guidelines for the preparation and issue of phytosanitary certificates and phytosanitary certificates for re-export.
2015-04-21: ISPM 12 as revised by the Language review groups in Chinese, French and Spanish, and as noted by CPM-10 in English have been posted.
Portuguese translation provided by MAPA, Brazil. Korean translation provided by the National Plant Quarantine Service, Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Rep. of Korea Vietnamese translation provided by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dong Da, Viet Nam
The Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish versions of this ISPM were re-posted on 2014-04-29 in order to reflect the changes by the respective Language Review Groups noted at CPM-9 (2014). The English version of ISPM 11 was re-posted on 2014-05-12 in order to delete reference to previous ISPM version in the adoption section.
Korean translation provided by the National Plant Quarantine Service, Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Korea