Pest Risk Analysis

A pest risk analysis (PRA) is a science-based decision making process to arrive at the appropriate phytosantitary measures for a specific pest or pathogen. A PRA evaluates both the technical/scientific information, as well as, economic evidence to identify whether an organism is a potential pest or pathogen of plants, and if it should be proactively managed. Although under the IPPC a definition of a plant pest can include various organisms (e.g. weeds, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, insects, mites, and viruses), a PRA helps determine which category it fits within and whether actions should be taken to eradicate, contain or mitigate further spread. The process of conducting a PRA consists of three stages:

1) Identification of a pest or pathway, or commencing a review or revision of an existing phytosanitary policy

2) Pest risk assessment

3) Pest risk management. 

In general pests can either be regulated or non-regulated, and if regulated the IPPC defines two potential categories the pest may fall into: “quarantine” pests and “regulated, non-quarantine” pests.

Quarantine Pest: is defined by the IPPC as a; “pest of potential economic importance to the area endangered and not yet present, or not widely distributed and controlled”.  

Regulated, Non-quarantine Pest (RNQP): is defined by the IPPC as a; “non-quarantine pest whose presence in plants for planting affects the intended use of those plants with an economically unacceptable impact and is therefore regulated within the territory of the importing contracting party”. RNQPs usually already have a wide distribution in the country where they are regulated and the objective is to mitigate further spread and impact.

The focus of a PRA may be a commodity or category of commodities, a specific pest or group of pests (and the disease if which they are the causal organism), or the method of conveyance of the pest or commodity.