International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs)

One of the key activities of the IPPC is to establish international standards for phytosanitary measures (ISPMs). The Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) is the governing body of the IPPC and it has adopted a number of ISPMs that provide guidance to contracting parties in meeting the aims and obligations of the Convention. The intention of ISPMs is to harmonize phytosanitary measures for the purpose of facilitating international trade. ISPMs can cover a wide range of issues including; surveillance, pest risk analysis, establishment of pest free areas, export certification, phytosanitary certificates and pest reporting. The IPPC encourages adoption of these standards, but they only come into force once contracting (members) and non-contracting parties to establish requirements in national legislative instruments. Most standards are developed initially by regional or national plant protection organizations (NPPO and RPPO, respectively), but are often adopted by the IPPC if they have an international relevance. IPPC standards generally fall into three categories:

1) Reference standards, such as the Glossary of phytosanitary terms.

2) Conceptual standards, such as the Guidelines of pest risk analysis.

3) Specific standards, which typically directed at a specific pest or pathogen (e.g. surveillance for citrus canker).

National Plant Protection Organization

Article IV of the Convention requires that contracting parties, to the best of their ability, establish a National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) which implements many of the services and functions specific to obligations under the IPPC. The NPPO usually administers a country’s phytosanitary laws and regulations, and is responsible for delivering the following activities:

• Issuance of phytosanitary certificates,

• Conducting surveillance and inspection of pests and pathogens,

• Implementing control measures to prevent the spread of pests and pathogens (e.g. treatments, disinfection, or disinfestation),

• Protecting habitat and endangered areas,

• Conducting pest risk assessment and analysis,

• Ensuring the phytosanitary security of consignments to be exported,

• Designation and maintenance of pest free areas and areas of low pest presences 

In order to facilitate the exchange of information between the IPPC and the NPPO’s of contracting members, each country must designate an official point of contact. Information about the various NPPO’s can be found at the IPPC website

Regional Plant Protection Organization (RPPO):

Article IX of the Convention encourages contracting parties cooperate on a regional basis and form Regional Plant Protection Organizations (RPPOs). The RPPO’s usually perform a coordinating function to gather and disseminate information as well as address technical issues of a regional nature. This can include promoting harmonized phytosanitary measures for controlling pests and preventing their introduction and/or spread.

At present, there are ten RPPOs, and information about these various organizations can be found on the IPPC website.