The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) community with the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) acknowledged the importance of understanding and better managing the phytosanitary risks associated with the movement of aid in its sixteenth session (CPM-16, 2022). In this meeting, they agreed to establish a CPM Focus Group on the Safe Provision of Food and other Humanitarian Aid. Since this time, the group has worked to address its Terms of Reference virtually.
In February 2023 the group met in person in Nadi Fiji. The location of the meeting was important as the South West Pacific has championed this topic and issue on the international stage, given the heightened risk the region faces to natural disasters. Australia provided funding for the meeting and the IPPC Secretariat provided travel assistance and continued to support the Focus Group, recording the meeting and assisting the Chair. The Pacific Plant Protection Organization (PPPO) and Biosecurity Authority of Fiji were co-hosts. Notably, this Focus Group also has the most representation from the South West Pacific region ever seen (six of the eleven members). This is an encouraging development and a demonstration of the importance of the topic and the desire of the region to participate in international policy development.
The Focus Group considered several papers submitted to support deliberations as it worked to understand the aid supply chain and the pathways that it incorporates. It also worked to articulate this system and address concerns that raised by members of the IPPC community about the proposal for a standard to support address of this issue.
During the meeting, the first of a suite of earthquakes also hit Türkiye and Syria and since, cyclones Gabrielle and Judy have impacted New Zealand, Vanuatu and other nations in our region, demonstrating the pertinence of these discussions and this work.
The next steps for the Focus Group involve developing a proposal paper to the IPPCs Sto address this critical food security issue at CPM 18 in 2024.
The Focus Group’s reports can be found at: