**Rome, 17 June 2020 -**How can protecting plant health contribute to the realization of the right to food? Aiming to highlight the inevitable linkages between these two issues, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat and the FAO Right to Food Team have embarked for first time on collaboration. The delegations, led by IPPC Secretary Jingyuan Xia and Right to Food Team Leader Juan Carlos García y Cebolla, met virtually, at the presence of Ralf Lopian, Chairperson of the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) International Steering Committee.
Plants make up 80% of the food we eat. They are critical for safeguarding food security, or the ongoing access to sufficient, affordable, safe and nutritious food for us all to live active and healthy lives. Plant pests are responsible for losses of up to 40% percent of food crops globally. Climate change threatens to reduce not only the quantity of crops, lowering yields, but also the nutritious value. Rising temperatures also mean that more plant pests are appearing earlier and in places where they were never seen before.
Besides, the IPPC community is on the verge to begin a new chapter through the adoption of Commodity Standards, which are going to make food exports safer. This is a key component to achieve food security globally and establish sustainable food systems eventually.
All these elements form a strong correlation between food security and plant health, such as availability and adequacy of food, access to markets, affordability, and sustainability.
According to Jingyuan Xia, IPPC Secretary: “Plant health is an essential component of the Right to food, and both concepts are strongly inter-related”. Mr Xia welcomed the organization of the first joint meeting and expressed his feeling that the new collaboration would foster very positive outcomes.
“I believe we will build a very positive and lasting relationship”, pointed out Juan Carlos García y Cebolla, Right to Food Team Leader. The adoption of human rights principles can significantly improve sustainability and inclusiveness of food systems, with special regards to international trade of food and plant products, he added.
Mr Ralf Lopian expressed his satisfaction for this partnership to kick off during the IYPH. Actions will include from communication activities to engagement in coordinated policy discussions. In the short term, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), World Food Day 2020 or the International Day of Human Rights could be an opportunity to put plant health and the human right to food in the spotlight.
In concluding the virtual meeting, participants agreed on a number of joint actions and recalled FAO Director-General QU Dongyu’s words at the IYPH opening ceremony: “Plants provide the core basis for life on Earth and they are the single most important pillar of human nutrition”.
About the International Plant Protection Convention
The IPPC is an international treaty established in 1952 whose Secretariat is hosted by FAO. Its mission is to protect the world’s plant resources by preventing the introduction and spread of harmful pests. Its governing body is the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM).