Seed World

2020: International Year of Plant Health

In December during the 73rdsession, the United Nations General Assembly named 2020 the International Year of Plant Health.

Plants are under constant attack from invasive pests; this damages crops, forests and other natural resources. According to a promotional video, this is an opportunity to raise global awareness, reduce poverty, protect the environment and feed the world.

“The International Year of Plant Health offers a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity for plant protection professionals to promote plant health to policymakers, stakeholders and society,” says Ralf Lopian, chair of the International Year of Plant Health Steering Committee. “The year demonstrates that plant health is an indispensable precondition to achieving zero hunger, zero poverty, economic development and environmental protection.”

The International Seed Federation (ISF) is a member of the steering committee and has been working to coordinate efforts and activities to promote the International Year of Plant Health.

Designed to raise global awareness of plant health and its role in increasing food security, those in the seed community anticipate that the proclamation will support the implementation of the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures on the International Movement of Seed that was adopted in 2017.

“Plants are the foundation of life on earth and we are proud to be part of this initiative to protect the world’s plant resources from pests,” says Michael Keller, ISF secretary general. “We will be strengthening our stakeholder engagement to garner support for the International Year of Plant Health, and to highlight the importance of healthy seed to plant health.”

What can you expect? An International Plant Health Conference will be among thousands of plant health events to be held globally throughout 2020, according to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). IPPC is an international treaty, with 183 contracting parties, that entered into force in 1052 and provides a framework to protect the world’s plant resources from the harm caused by pests.