In the last 10 years, the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations of the GATT has developed its Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) whose main aim, in the phytosanitary section, is to ensure that any phytosanitary measures which act as non-tariff barriers to trade can be technically justified.
This has led National Plant Protection Organizations worldwide to develop global structures for international harmonization of phytosanitary measures and their technical justification. In particular:
EPPO is a regional plant protection organization (RPPO). The new revised text of the IPPC allows for the creation of RPPOs to act as regional coordinating bodies to cooperate with the IPPC Secretariat and the Commission in developing ISPMs, and to establish regional standards (which may be considered as candidates for ISPMs). Within the SPS Agreement (Annex A), EPPO is one of the regional organizations operating within the framework of the IPPC which cooperates with the IPPC Secretariat in developing ISPMs.
EPPO has created a Panel on ICPM affairs which meets several times a year to discuss draft standards, submit EPPO comments to FAO, advise its CPM members and prepare positions to be raised in the CPM. EPPO circulates material of global interest among its members and ensures discussion and consultation in all appropriate technical bodies.
EPPO cooperates informally with the Commission of the European Union to ensure a well balanced approach on international questions.
Under the International Plant Protection Convention (article IX of the text revised in 1997) the Regional Plant Protection Organizations function as coordinating bodies in the different continents to further the objectives of the Convention, and to gather and disseminate information. Each RPPO has its own independent statutes and conducts its own regional cooperation programme. RPPOs produce regional standards for their members. They cooperate with each other and with FAO. In particular, they meet in Technical Consultations to promote the development and use of relevant standards and to encourage inter-regional cooperation on phytosanitary measures for controlling quarantine pests and preventing their introduction and spread.
Far East, Indian subcontinent, Australia and New Zealand
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The EPPO Secretariat, or representatives from EPPO countries, participate in many meetings related to the IPPC.
As a result of the work done by the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM), the Standards Committee (SC) and the various CPM technical bodies, international standards for phytosanitary measures (ISPMs) have now been approved by FAO.