What is the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)?

The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is an intergovernmental treaty signed by over 180 countries, aiming to 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 is one of the "Three Sisters" recognized by the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Agreement, along with the Codex Alimentarius Commission for food safety standards and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) for animal health standards.

Implementing the IPPC: Governing bodies and structure

The Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) was established in 2005 building on the Committee of Experts on Phytosanitary Measures (CEPM), whose first session was held in 1993. The CPM is the IPPC main governing body, holding its sessions annually. The CPM promotes the full implementation of the Convention’s objectives, including reviewing the state of plant protection in the world and actions to control the international spread of pests and their introduction into endangered areas; establishing and keeping under review the necessary institutional arrangements and procedures for the development and adoption of international standards; and adopting international standards.

The CPM Bureau was established in 2005 as the executive body of the Commission. It provides guidance to the IPPC Secretariat on activities, particularly those related to financial and operational management, between CPM sessions and meets at least five times per year including one virtual meeting. The CPM Bureau is composed of seven members, one per FAO region.

The Standards Committee (SC) is composed of 25 members and of observer(s) from the seven FAO regions. Its primary role includes overseeing the IPPC standard setting process to develop international standards.

The Implementation and Capacity Development Committee (IC) is composed of 12 members, plus one RPPO representative and one SC representative. It provides technical guidance to enhance the capacity of contracting parties to implement the IPPC and meet its strategic objectives.

The Strategic Planning Group (SPG) is an informal working group, which undertakes specific activities on behalf of the CPM, relating to the planning and prioritization of the various elements of the work programme including a focus on strategic issues. Its meetings are open to IPPC contracting parties and observers. Financial Committee (FC) was established in 2012 and its core function is to secure financial transparency and appropriateness and to ensure the integration of the IPPC Strategic Framework into financial issues throughout planning and budgeting processes. The FC contributes to resource mobilization by assisting in the framing and developing of relevant documents.

The IPPC Secretariat, established in 1992 and hosted at FAO headquarters in Rome, coordinates the work of IPPC contracting parties to achieve the Convention’s goals. It develops a variety of resources to provide technical guidelines, it implements plant health related projects and organizes the CPM and other major committee meetings, and is responsible for the communication and external cooperation programmes.