The first International Year of Plant Health will be held in 2020 recognising the importance of global cooperation to keep plants healthy and free of pests and diseases.
Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer, Dr Kim Ritman, said protecting our plant health is vital for food security, trade, the economy and environment.
“Australia is fortunate to be free of some of the world’s most damaging plant pests and diseases that are present in other countries,” Dr Ritman said.
“Healthy plants are essential for life—they feed people and animals, contribute to food security both here and overseas, and support jobs and income for people across the country.
“Through the International Year of Plant Health, countries from around the world will be joining forces to help promote the importance of keeping our plants healthy.
“Pests and diseases can spread from country to country and this is a great initiative which recognises that preventing these threats requires a global effort.
“Increasing awareness will allow us to highlight the risks we face and how everyone can do their part to keep plant pests and diseases out of our country.”
The International Year of Plant Health was first proposed to the governing body of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in 2015 and received overwhelming support.
It was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 December and aims to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which focus on addressing global challenges to achieving a better, more sustainable future.
The IPPC provides a framework to protect the world’s plant resources from the harm caused by pests and diseases. The IPPC is the leader in the global effort to promote and maintain plant health. Australia contributes strongly to the IPPC and benefits from the international standards it develops to facilitate safe trade.
For more information on the International Year of Plant Health, visit Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Health.
For more information on Australia’s plant biosecurity, visit agriculture.gov.au/plant.