What is the International Plant Protection Convention?

IPPC Logo from the IPPC website

The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is a multilateral treaty administered by the United Nations – Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that aims to prevent and control the introduction and spread of pests of plants. The scope of the Convention includes not only the protection of cultivated plants, but also extends to encompass natural flora and plant products. The primary focus of the IPPC is to regulate the movement and international trade of plants and plant products that may act as a pathway or vector for the introduction plant pests including invasive weed species. The introduction of invasive pests and diseases can greatly endanger global food production and security, as well as, long term agricultural sustainability. Movement of pests also negatively impact renewable resources and natural ecosystems. As such, the introduction of invasive pest species have serious implications for the national and international economies and ecology. With increasing globalization of trade and movement of both people and resources around the world, the risk of introducing invasive pests has never been higher. The IPPC plays an important role in protecting farmers from economically devastating pest and disease outbreaks, and the environment from the loss of species diversity. By establishing phytosanitary measures, standards, and requirements, the IPPC facilitates trade and the safe movement of plants and plant products internationally. The IPPC came into force in 1951 at the 6th Conference of the FAO, and at present, 181 members are party to the IPPC including 178 United Nations member states. The Secretariat of the IPPC is housed at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, and is responsible for the coordination of core activities under the IPPC work program.