International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)

The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is an international treaty to secure action to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plants and plant products and to promote appropriate measures for their control. The Convention was adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1951 and entered into force in 1952. The New Revised Text of the Convention was adopted in 1997 and entered into force in 2005. The Convention has 144 Contracting Parties.

Objectives and approach

The purpose of the Convention is ‘to secure common and effective action to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plants and plant products, and to promote appropriate measures for their control’.

Although the IPPC clearly has strong relevance to the regulation of trade, the Convention is not limited in this respect. International cooperation in many forms of plant protection may fall within the scope of the Convention. Likewise, plants are not limited to cultivated plants and protection is not limited to direct damage from pests. Therefore, the scope of the Convention extends to the protection of natural flora and includes indirect harm or damage from pests such as weeds.

The role of the Convention with respect to trade has changed significantly in recent years as reflected in the substantial amendments found in the New Revised Text approved in 1997. In addition to describing the fundamental elements of national plant protection organizations, the IPPC is now also an active organization strongly involved with international standard setting.

The New Revised Text of the IPPC (1997) emphasizes cooperation and the exchange of information toward the objective of global harmonization. In addition to describing national plant protection responsibilities, it also addresses important elements of international cooperation for the protection of plant health and the establishment and use of International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs).

Institutional structure

The IPPC is governed by the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures, which adopts International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (24 ISPMs have been adopted so far). The Commission is comprised of the Contracting Parties to the Convention. The IPPC Secretariat coordinates the activities of the Convention; it is hosted by the FAO.