Participants at the Pacific Plant Protection Organisation (PPPO) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) workshop hosted at the Crown Beach Resort. MELINA ETCHES / 23082110
Over 40 participants from around the Pacific region are in Rarotonga for the Pacific Plant Protection Organization (PPPO) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) workshop, hosted at the Crown Beach Resort in Arorangi.
Agriculture Temarama Anguna-Kamana said Rarotonga was originally scheduled to
host the event in 2019, and they were pleased that the government had allowed
them to host it this year.
It is also the
Polynesian islands nations’ turn to be voted in at the election of the
executive committee as PPPO chair.
“It is vital we bring
this meeting here because we will be doing the election of the executive
committee, and this year it’s the Polynesians’ turn,” Anguna-Kamana said. “We
want the Cook Islands to put their hand up to be chair of the PPPO.”
The election will take
place on Thursday night.
Acting chair of the
PPPO, Nacanieli Waqa, said the event, which began yesterday, is a one-week
engagement with two different meetings.
Waqa explained that the
workshop is an annual event where they review international draft standards.
“As we know, standards
have become part of our society, part of the world, and they are how trade is
driven. So the international standard-setting body for plants and plant
products is called the International Plant Protection Convention, and they are
based in Rome. We in the Pacific are members of the convention.
“So every year, they
develop draft standards that are sent to all the members for us to review to
make sure they are relevant to us, especially the Pacific.”
Waqa said they would
review the international standard and send it back to IPPC for adoption.
He further said that
later this week they will have a regional technical board meeting.
“We usually meet every
three years. The last meeting was in 2017, and then Covid came and further
delayed the meeting. We are now grateful to our donors and partners, the New
Zealand and Australian governments, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community
(SPC), for the funding.
“The meeting is to set
the direction for the region to protect it from biosecurity risks and work with
countries to ensure we have a system that is allowed for improved facilitation
The partners include
the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries, Departments of Foreign Affairs
and Trade, International Plant Protection Convention, the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations, and PACER Plus.
The International Plant
Protection Convention (IPPC) provides an international framework for plant
protection that includes developing International Standards for Phytosanitary
Measures (ISPMs) for safeguarding plant resources.
guidelines, and recommendations are recognized as the basis for phytosanitary
measures applied by members of the World Trade Organization under the Agreement
on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.
They help achieve
international harmonization of phytosanitary measures, with the aim to protect
human health, unique flora, and fauna, and at the same time facilitate safe
trade and avoid the use of unjustifiable measures as barriers to trade.
Minister of Agriculture
Vainetutai Rose Toki-Brown says that from a global perspective, each year, an
estimated 10-16 per cent of global harvest is lost to plant pests, equivalent
to $220 billion per year.
The world’s population
is currently growing at a rate of around 1.14 per cent annually, and the
reality is that emergency situations will be increasingly faced, she says.
“Global food production
must increase by 50 per cent to meet the projected demand of the world's
population by 2050. However, the devastation effects from plant diseases can be
far-reaching and alter the course of society and political history,” Minister
“This reinforces the
importance of international cooperation through the IPPC - it is absolutely
“That is why these
three days of regional workshops and meetings are important for our respective
Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) and the region as a whole.”