UN has proclaimed 2020 International Year of Plant Health!
Jan. 1, 2019
Today, up to 40 percent of global food crops are lost annually due to plant pests. In terms of economic value, plant diseases alone cost the global economy around US$220 billion annually and invasive insects around US$70 billion.
“The International Year of Plant Health is a key initiative to highlight the importance of plant health to enhance food security, protect the environment and biodiversity, and boost economic development,” FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo said.
Jingyuan Xia, Secretary to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), added: “Despite the increasing impact of plant pests, resources are scarce to address the problem. We hope this new International Year of Plant Health will trigger greater global collaboration to support plant health policies at all levels, which will contribute significantly to the Sustainable Development Agenda.”
Finland first proposed the proclamation of the year to the governing body of the IPPC in 2015. The proposal received overwhelming international support in the IPPC’s Commission on Phytosanitary Measures, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the 73rd UN General Assembly.
“Pests and diseases don’t carry passports or observe immigration requirements and, therefore, the prevention of the spread of such organisms is very much an international undertaking that requires the collaboration of all countries. This is why Finland proposed to proclaim 2020 the International Year of Plant Health,” Jari Leppä, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland said.
The UN General Assembly invited FAO, with the IPPC Secretariat, to serve as the lead agency to spearhead activities, and called on governments, civil society, and the private sector to engage at global, regional and national levels. An International Plant Health Conference will be among thousands of plant health events to be held globally throughout 2020.
Healthy plants are the foundation for all life, ecosystem functions and food security. Plant pests and diseases damage crops, reducing the availability of food and increasing its cost. Sustaining plant health protects the environment, forests and biodiversity from plant pests, addresses the effects of climate change, and supports efforts to end hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
The IPPC is an international treaty that entered into force in 1952 and provides a framework to protect the world’s plant resources from the harm caused by pests. It is currently composed of 183 contracting parties.
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