Implementation of ISPM 15 (International wood packaging standard)

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Implementation of ISPM 15 (International wood packaging standard)

The purpose of the project was to undertake a study and evaluate the impacts of ISPM 15 (i.e. IPPC's standard which relates to treatment of wood packaging material) on the exports and imports flows of a selected group of African countries (Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya and Mozambique). Under the project, a cost benefit analysis of ISPM 15 implementation was carried out to assess the main economic, ecological and logistic consequences of its adoption and implementation. 

Learn more  about how the STDF has helped governments and National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) identify policy solutions to improve compliance with ISPM 15 in this documentary. A results story on the project is available here


The rationale of ISPM 15, set by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), is to reduce ‘[…] the risk of introduction and spread of quarantine pests associated with the movement in international trade of wood packaging material made from raw wood.[…]'. This standard advocates that that wood packaging materials (WPM) have to be heat-treated or fumigated with methyl bromide and marked as being appropriately treated in order to remove or kill pests in the wood at the time of treatment.

The costs of implementing ISPM 15 have been estimated to represent a relatively large share of the total exports values of each country. On the other hand, the loss of export markets related to the lack of compliance with the standard could be enormous; the immediate loss in export earning, prospect of slow export expansion, a decrease in the national and farmers income are just some of the severe consequences which might materialize.

This project, the first of its kind done in a group of African countries, aims at filling in the gap and attempts to tackle this challenge using a quantitative perspective –via using macro and micro data- as well as ad-hoc qualitative analysis. At the heart of the project is the development of an econometric model for evaluating the impact that the ISPM 15 standard has had on the value/amount of exports, and hence on the growth, of the select countries.  

Expected Results 

Publish a Regional study report based on an econometric analysis of ISPM 15

The first result will be a comprehensive report based on an econometric analysis which will study the effects of ISPM 15 implementation on the value and on the amount of exports and imports in the select African countries over time. This result will be achieved via the following activities: (i) the creation of a database with a number of macro data variables (imports, exports, unit value prices, gross domestic product, and geographical proximity) of the trading countries taken over the last 15 years and; (ii) the development of an econometric model –i.e. gravity model and the analysis of the data. The model aims at studying whether the standard implementation has created a shock at the export/import level. The analysis will be disaggregated by the type of goods exported/imported to detect whether any particular sector of the economy has benefited or been adversely effected as a consequence of the implementation of the standard.   

Targeted country reports to identify key challenges and policy recommendations for the select countries

The project will produce four country reports for the select African Countries. These reports will build on the collection and the analysis of ad-hoc micro data and of qualitative data gathered from interviewing key personal in the four NPPOs and other relevant stakeholders. Each report will analyse all policies, laws, regulations, procedures put in place by the NPPOs and by the Government to implement the standard. These reports are key as they will identify the challenges faced by various stakeholders and subsequently include policy recommendations to increase the country’s capacity to design ad-hoc policies to facilitate the implementation of the standard.

Dissemination of policy recommendations to select NPPO's via a de-brief document

The third result will consist of a de-brief document which will include policy recommendations for the four participating countries and for the Inter-African Phytosanitary Council (IAPSC). The document will be developed based on the findings of the research and will be presented to the NPPOs and IAPSC during a be-brief meeting for their validation.

Develop a succinct policy brief to inform non-participating countries and international stakeholders

A policy brief will be developed based on the findings of the research and the recommendations set out in the de-brief document. The aim of the policy brief will be twofold: to increase the capacity to design appropriate policies for implementation of ISPM 15 for the countries participating in the project and to inform the non-participating countries and international stakeholders on the best practices to implement the standard effectively.

Develop training materials for NPPOs

The project will develop and elaborate training materials for use by NPPOs to improve the effective implementation of ISPM-15. The main findings of the research and the recommendations from the policy brief will feed into these training materials. The training materials will focus on the main challenges and optimum solutions to equip the representatives of the NPPOs with the knowledge and skills required for the efficient implementation of ISPM 15.

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Implementing Entities 
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) - Erasmus University of Rotterdam