10th Meeting of the Panel on Plant Protection Information

Milano, IT, 2024-06-04/05



The 10th Meeting of the Panel on Plant Protection Information took place in Milano to discuss how to better communicate on plant health issues at national and international level and further improve EPPO information services. The Panel also enjoyed an inspiring visit to a public garden ‘Indro Montanelli’ to meet a journalist who communicates on the life and death of a patrimonial oak tree, and the manager of the Milano parks and gardens (see our story on Facebook). Warm thanks are due to Ms Ciampitti and her colleagues from Regione Lombardia for the excellent organization of the meeting.





National and international activities on communication

A large part of the meeting was dedicated to presentations by Panel members on the communication activities that have been carried out in their countries (e.g. videos, leaflets, games, training and education courses, open days, workshops). These presentations illustrated the great variety of audiences (e.g. plant health specialists, growers, professional operators, young public and citizens) and of media used (e.g. websites, press, social media, radio programmes). Examples of communication activities specifically planned for the International Day of Plant Health (12th of May) were also presented. Most of this material has been shared on the EPPO Platform on Communication. It can be recalled that all EPPO member countries are kindly invited to share their communication material on this platform.


The implementation of the ongoing EU awareness raising campaign on plant health (Plant Health 4 Life) was presented by Ms Zanetti (EFSA). This campaign aims at raising awareness of European citizens on the importance of plant health and explains how all of us can contribute to keep plants healthy by not transporting plants when travelling. Communication material is made available to participating countries (key messages, videos, posters, leaflets, a mascot ‘Pesty’). Studies are also being carried out to evaluate the impact of the campaign.


Ms Frio (IPPC Secretariat) presented the activities (e.g. high level event, exhibition, interactive display on e-commerce, ePhyto global map) which took place during the International Day of Plant Health at the FAO headquarters in Rome. In the framework of the IPPC Communication Strategy, it has been decided to establish a Regional Communications Network which will serve as a new platform for the IPPC Secretariat, NPPOs, RPPOs and other relevant organizations to discuss communication and promote plant health. More discussions will take place within the IPPC to define the role of RPPOs in this network.


The Panel members were updated by Mr Richards (CABI) on the most recent developments achieved by CABI, such as the use of artificial intelligence tools to search for relevant information, and the launch of a single platform (CABI Digital Library) to access a large number of information sources, such as abstracts, compendia and distribution maps.



EPPO Information Services

The following new developments were presented to the Panel:

  • EPPO Platform on Communication Material: a new full text search tool has been developed to retrieve documents more easily. Following a specific request, it will be possible to include communication material produced in the framework of EU-funded projects (a new keyword will be attached to those documents).
  • New features in the EPPO Global Database: 1) links with the EPPO Platform on Communication Material have been added, thus facilitating data retrieval on pest specific communication material, 2) it is planned to transfer the technical contents of the EPPO Standard PM 6/3 Biological control agents safely used in the EPPO region to the database, so that links will be established between target pests and their biological control agents.
  • Datasheet revision project: in the framework of an EU-EPPO co-funded project (ending in September 2024), more than 300 dynamic datasheets have been revised and all are available from the EPPO Global Database. Useful feedback was provided by the Panel on how to continue the production of datasheets after the end of the project, using various criteria to prioritize pests for which new datasheets still need to be prepared (e.g. A1 pests, pests of emerging crops).


Other information services were briefly discussed and useful feed-back was provided by Panel members on how to further improve and publicize them. Discussions will continue at the next meeting.



Possible future communication actions

Possible topics for future communication actions or material which could be developed by the Panel were discussed. It was decided that a webinar presenting the EPPO Standards on awareness raising of the public on regulated and emerging pests, as well as success stories on communication in plant health, could usefully be organized to share experience and publicize what has already been achieved in the EPPO region. Panel members will also collect communication material for kids, so that tool kits could be produced and shared.


The next Panel meeting is planned on the 4th and 5th of November 2025, the location will be announced nearer the time.