1st Meeting of the ad hoc Panel on Plant Protection Information
The first meeting of the ad hoc Panel on Plant Protection Information took place at the EPPO headquarters. This Panel was created because the EPPO Council considered that the communication strategy of EPPO and the necessity to raise public awareness about plant health are important topics which needed to be specifically addressed.
The Panel initially reviewed the existing information services provided by EPPO, in particular the EPPO Bulletin, the EPPO Reporting Service, and the EPPO website. It also discussed the EPPO databases on Standards on Efficacy Evaluation of Plant Protection Products, Diagnostic expertise, the EPPO Plant Protection Thesaurus (including the EPPO codes), and PQR. The Panel was generally satisfied with these information services and databases and strongly encouraged the EPPO Secretariat to continue developing and maintaining them. In particular, the participants were very satisfied with the new version of PQR. The Panel was also presented with the latest prototype of the ‘EPPO Global database’, a new web-based interface which is currently being developed by the Secretariat to provide rapid access to all pest-specific information that has been produced by EPPO (data sheets, Reporting Service articles, Standards, PRAs and Climex studies, photos, PQR and EPPT data). The Panel suggested that the ‘Global database’ interface should be published as soon as possible in 2012, as its contents could be gradually enlarged over time.
The Panel members were invited to present their experience on national information and communication campaigns related to plant health before opening a brainstorming session on the two following questions:
- How to raise the EPPO profile in the media?
- How to raise public awareness on plant health issues?
Many suggestions were made and listed in a preliminary action plan which will be reviewed at the next meeting. The Panel agreed that the first priorities would be to:
- explore the possibilities for EPPO to participate in social networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook);
- monitor the development of a platform of information exchange for Heads of diagnostic laboratories, as this could be used as a pilot project for the creation of other EPPO forums;
- prepare a draft poster to be displayed in airports/seaports to inform travellers about the risks of moving plant material.
The next Panel meeting will take place in Riga on the 2012-11-06/07.