Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. MELINA ETCHES/23082505
The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) - the standard-setting body for plants and plant products based in Rome, develops draft standards every year which are sent to all the members of the Pacific Plant Protection Organisation (PPPO) to review and to ensure they are relevant to the Pacific.
Following the the three-day PPPO and IPPC workshop that was held last week, Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said discussions involved the importance of standards in plant health.
The international standards are really important for
providing protection from plant diseases and pests, stopping the spread of
plant and diseases also enabling trade, said Dr Vivian-Smith.
“A lot of the pathways that pests and diseases come in
on might be related to fresh produce, container pests, passengers bringing
goods from other countries so international standards help us to create
harmonised regulations internationally.
“So, they help facilitate trade but at the same time
provide that protection for our environment, food security and healthy plants.”
Life is basically dependant on having healthy plants
they’re pretty fundamental to this work, she said.
Standards PPPO have focused on have included wood
products such as pellets with bora, and fruit fly hosts.
There are different research from around the world, different ideas therefore the workshop was also trying to create a single set of terminology.
Surveillance was discussed in looking for plant pests
and disease, finding these early so they can be prevented and to stop the
impact of those pests, and disease early warning systems.
“Global trade and the movement of people also create
more connections which is great but that means more connections for pests to
find host plants and therefore increases the risk and potential for spread.
“Those sorts of changes do create higher risks, higher
probability of pest establishment, pest spread and pest impact.
“Plants, pests and diseases don’t respect boundaries,
we can’t keep them out just like that so it’s really important for us to work
together as a region because if we have a strong region Bio Security it helps
all of us in the region and can overcome pests and diseases and its impacts
“Stronger Pacific Bio Security system means better
outcomes for all of us so working together is really important,” said Dr
PPO are finding that in extreme weather events largely
the result of climate change such as cyclone storm events, heavy rainfall and
bushfires, do create a more vulnerable eco system and create a lot of
These extreme weather events do create a more
vulnerable system for pests to establish and they also bring in pests, she
The full Armyworm - a moth which is a very strong flyer across air currents has arrived in the Pacific region.
“It is a very
omnivorous pest so it feeds on a lot of different species and is a threat to
food security,” said Dr Vivian-Smith.
PPPO have formulated their advice that feeds into the
international standard-setting process, and as a Pacific region they will be
providing that advice through as part of the annual international standards-
It creates an ability for the Pacific voice to be
heard and to present what are important regional matters to ensure that the
international standards that are set are relevant for the Pacific and are going
to be useful, rather than for other regions in the world, she said.
Michael (Mick) Bartlett, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
for Biosecurity Authority Fiji, said the working workshop was to draft and review
the Sanitary Phytosanitary Measures (SPM) that are used to govern that way of
trade - about pests and disease and the control of them.
“It’s work that can be quite tedious because its all
about the detail and it can be quite technical,” he said.
Recommendations were put in on what they believe have been omitted and should be in the draft, “better words so its accurate making sure that the glossary of terms that we use universally are recognised.
Over 40 participants from around the Pacific region attended
the workshop that was hosted at the Crown Beach Resort, Arorangi.