Capacity building tools for IPPC standards
This project aimed to strengthen the capacity of National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) in developing countries by providing them the internationally accepted technical resources to comprehend and implement International Standards on Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs). These resources are key components of national phytosanitary systems covering core plant health areas such as import verification, export certification, pest surveillance and diagnostics, and pest risk analysis. Improving the capacity in those areas helps to maintain and fortify access to external markets and support national import and export certification programmes.
An information session on this project and its outputs was organized by the IPPC Secretariat in March 2017 (on the margins of the WTO SPS Committee).
Management challenges such as lack of trained personnel, information systems, and operational procedures to perform the tasks required of a national plant protection organization (NPPO) are principal weaknesses of developing country implementation of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). This leads to weak phytosanitary systems that are unable to effectively protect domestic agriculture and plant resources from pests and diseases. This project takes the first step to establish a set of globally relevant resources to support implementation of core functions of NPPOs. More specifically, these resources include manuals, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and training kits outlining the processes and procedures for implementation of ISPMs. They are technically compatible with the SPS framework and adaptable to national-level needs.
The topics for the materials to be produced through the project are selected on the basis of a priority setting process that identifies most pressing needs emerging from the phytosanitary capacity evaluations (PCE) conducted by the IPPC Secretariat in more than 80 countries as well as global surveys conducted to analyse implementation challenges among IPPC contracting parties.
Built knowledge on plant health through high-quality publicized resources
On a first hand, a large variety of existing technical resources was collected through the issue of an open call for resources by the IPPC Secretariat and Capacity Development Committee (CDC). The CDC analysed the usefulness, relevance and compatibility of received materials designed to support and strengthen plant health regulatory institutions. The collection of these resources was publicized on a website facilitating the access to resources online (the Phytosanitary Resources page: www.phytosanitary.info). On the second hand, CDC examined the needs where new resources are relevant to be developed and other areas where resources can be adapted. The general needs were identified during the application of PCEs as well as through a survey carried out within the IPPC’s Implementation Review and Support System (IRSS). The survey targeting all IPPC contracting parties gathered information on their successes, challenges, and capacity gaps in the implementation of the Convention and its standards. A list of topics in which NPPOs expressed a need for resources was developed and was compared to the list of existing resources.
As a result, 317 technical resources were freely available to public on the website, by December 2015. From e-learning modules, manuals, training materials, diagnostic protocols, videos, advocacy materials, photographs, a roster of consultants, to databases of projects and activities; the website contains materials contributing highly in the implementation of the IPPC standards and on the establishment and reinforcement of the operating procedures such as Phytosanitary measures for export and certification procedures, import verification procedures and regulatory procedures at an NPPO. Over 181 contracting parties in seven FAO regions have direct access to these technical resources developed under this project.
Extended outreach of technical resources
The developed technical resources have benefitted various IPPC stakeholders, which permitted to extend the project's original scope that was based on IPPC contracting parties and NPPOs. For instance, a pilot testing of technical resources at 2 pre-CPM preparatory workshops and a regional workshop has taken place. Different other occasions such as the adaptation and translation of technical resources to national contexts, displays and publications of photographic posters in international settings, and the introduction and promotion of resources at IPPC’s annual CPM meetings, permitted to extend the use of these technical resources.
Ensured global applicability of high priority resources through a collaborative approach
Throughout the project, the CDC developed criteria to prioritise topics in the development of new resources. These criteria include relationship to management of NPPOs, responses to emerging issues, and lack of existing materials to address the various topics. Under these criteria, 20 priority technical resources have been developed in order to ensure global applicability. The development of the resources was also ensured by a range of partnership arrangements linking up collaborators on the ground who contributed content and expertise wise and who committed to long term use and provided feedback on the resources. Collaborations were shaped with IAGPRA, which permitted to identify experts contributing to the implementation of the project by reviewing of its outputs at a workshop organized by the United Kingdom. IICA contributed to the development of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) participation resources and the development. The New Zealand Plant Health and Environment Laboratory and the United Kingdom Food and Environment Research Agency developed and reviewed the diagnostics manual. Furthermore, relationships were established with several contracting parties (South Korea, Vietnam and the United Kingdom) and one regional plant protection organization, OIRSA, to validate, use and provide feedback on the draft resources. An example of contracting party collaboration was the hosting by South Korea of the stakeholder management workshop to pilot-test the draft manual content.
Raised awareness on plant protection
Amongst the technical resources, there are high quality photographs of plant pests thanks to IPPC photography competition, "Pests without Borders". The competition permitted to gather photographs from around the world demonstrating how plant pests are global threats. As a result of this awareness-raising exercise, an event was organised to showcase the photographs in National Geographic Italy and La Republica. The exercise provided plant protection photographic resources for use by IPPC and contracting parties, and raised awareness of plant protection.
Monitoring feedback on the use of the technical resources and enhancing the website
Survey links have been integrated into the website in order to capture the feedback of users of these resources. Monitoring further the results of these surveys will allow the IPPC secretariat to do further improvements, if needed. Considering the expansion of the scope of resources available on the website, it is recommended to continue enhancements on the website in order to better define content and monitor the use. This includes further re-organization of information architecture; a better search functionality; re-categorization of resources; improved external visibility on different search engines; updated website text; the development of a photo library; improved "like" mechanisms; and an update of the website metrics.
Promoting the use of technical resources
Outreach areas should be identified in order to streamline the use of the technical resource platform. Different external meetings, workshops, trainings can provide a good opportunity to encourage contracting parties to make use of these resources.
Improving technical resources
Review workshops are found to be more efficient in terms of resource development. The discussions taken during the development of technical resources highlighted the difficulties experts face in long-distance discussions. Furthermore, the continuation of developing further technical resources should be ensured by IPPC Secretariat, in the priority areas identified. Additional resources will be developed according to funding availabilities. The Secretariat maintains the open call for possible contributions of technical resources in the plant health area. For the future, the translation of the resources in main IPPC and FAO working languages is highly recommended in order to expand the outreach.