Capacity building tools for IPPC standards

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Capacity building tools for IPPC standards

This project developed technical resources with the aim to improve implementation of International Standards on Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) by National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) in developing countries. These resources covered the core areas of national plant health systems such as import verification, export certification, pest surveillance and diagnostics and pest risk analysis. Improving the institutional capacity in these areas helps to maintain and expand the access to international markets and support national import and export certification programmes.  

The IPPC Secretariat organized an information session on this project and its outputs in March 2017 (in the margins of the WTO SPS Committee).

The project was externally evaluated and presented to the Working Group in 2019. Please access the evaluation report here.


NPPOs in developing countries face many challenges such as lack of trained staff, weak information systems and operational procedures. These gaps lead to weak phytosanitary systems, which are unable to effectively protect plant resources from pests and diseases. The project took a first step to address this gap by establishing a set of globally relevant resources to strengthen core functions of NPPOs. More specifically, these resources include manuals, Standard Operating Procedures and training kits outlining the processes and procedures for implementation of ISPMs.

Built knowledge on plant health through technically robust resources

As a first step, the IPPC Secretariat and Capacity Development Committee (CDC) of the IPPC, collected existing technical resources through a global call. The CDC analysed the usefulness, relevance and compatibility of the submitted materials, which were designed to support and strengthen plant health regulatory institutions. Collection of these resources was publicized on a website "Phytosanitary Resources" (, facilitating online access to them. Secondly, the CDC examined areas where the development of new resources would be useful. The general needs were identified during the application of Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation (PCEs) Tool, as well as through a survey carried out within the IPPC’s Implementation Review and Support System (IRSS). The survey, which targeted all IPPC contracting parties, gathered information on their successes, challenges, and capacity gaps in the implementation of ISPMs. 

As a result, 317 technical resources were publicized on the Phytosanitary Resources website. This website contains materials relevant for the implementation of the IPPC standards and includes e-learning modules, manuals, training materials, diagnostic protocols, videos, advocacy materials, photographs, consultants' roster, and databases of projects and activities. Over 181 contracting parties in seven FAO regions have direct access to these technical resources.

Key resources produced under the project 

A wide range of resources and manuals were produced under this project. The manual "Establishing an NPPO" outlines the principal requirements for establishing an NPPO. Similarly, the manual "Operation of an NPPO" describes the main requirements for successfully operating and managing an NPPO.  A manual on "Plant pest surveillance" provides information to support surveillance activities that NPPOs need to undertake as part of national phytosanitary systems and to meet their international obligations. A manual titled "Managing relationships with stakeholders" provides useful information for NPPOs to develop and manage relationships with different stakeholders. More specific manuals were also produced to support the development of effective phytosanitary systems and include manuals on diagnostic services, export certification and import verification. 

Resources developed through collaborative approach

Throughout the project, the CDC developed criteria to prioritise topics for development of new resources. These criteria included the relationship to the management of NPPOs, responses to emerging issues and lack of existing materials to address the various topics. Collaborators on the ground contributed to the development of resources by bringing their expertise and committed to the long-term use of resources, providing useful feedback. New collaborations emerged with a number of contracting parties such as South Korea, Vietnam and the United Kingdom, in addition to a regional organisation, OIRSA (Organismo International Regional de Sanidad Agropecuria), which contributed to the validation process of draft resources by testing and providing feedback on them. Collaborations were also shaped with the International Pest Risk Analysis Advisory Group (IAGPRA), allowing them to identify experts who contributed to the implementation of the project by reviewing the outputs at a workshop organized by the United Kingdom. The New Zealand Plant Health and Environment Laboratory and the United Kingdom Food and Environment Research Agency developed and reviewed the diagnostics manual. 

Extended outreach of technical resources 

The technical resources produced extended benefits to various IPPC stakeholders (beyond NPPOs as originally envisioned in the project). For instance, a pilot testing of select technical resources took place in two Commissions on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) preparatory workshops and in a regional IPPC workshop.

The IPPC Secretariat made use of many other opportunities to highlight the use of technical resources, such as CPM meetings and use of high quality photographic posters (produced under the project) at various international meetings. Translation of technical resources to other languages was also encouraged.

Raised awareness on plant protection

The IPPC organized a photography competition "Pests without Borders" which resulted in submission of high quality photographs of plant pests from the world over. These pictures gave visual representation to plant pests as potential global threat. These photographs were displayed at several events, including at a CPM meeting and were published in National Geographic Italy, La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper and FAO media database. 
Monitoring feedback on the use and uptake of technical resources and enhancing the Phytosanitary Resources website

Survey links have been integrated into the Phytosanitary Resources Website in order to capture feedback from users. Monitoring the results of these surveys will allow the IPPC secretariat to improve the services, if needed. In the future, the scope of resources available on the website may increase so it may be useful to periodically review and improve the functionality of the website. 

Promoting the use of technical resources

Outreach areas should be identified in order to streamline the use of the Phytosanitary Resources Website. Meetings, workshops and trainings under the auspices of the IPPC network can provide a good opportunity to encourage contracting parties to make use of these resources. Going forward, translation of resources in other IPPC and FAO working languages is highly recommended to expand their outreach.

Improving technical resources

Review workshops are a more efficient way to develop resources as compared to long-distance discussions which lack face to face interaction. The IPPC Secretariat should continue with the roll out of different technical resources in the identified priority areas, which may not have been completed under this project. This will depend on availability of funds. Throughout the year, the IPPC Secretariat maintains an open call for possible contributions of technical resources.

Reference Number 
Project Value (US$) 
STDF Contribution (US$)  
Developing countries
Implementing Entities 
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)