Closing Ceremony of International Year of Plant Health

09 July 2021

The United Nations International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020 officially ended on July 1 with a virtual closing ceremony that highlighted the many successes achieved, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.

In October 2020, the 27th session of the FAO Committee on Agriculture endorsed a resolution championed by Zambia for an International Day of Plant Health on 12 May every year. The proposal was further validated by the FAO Council and Conference. The United Nations General Assembly will now consider the proposal for final endorsement at its next session - and the first International Day of Plant Health is expected to be celebrated on 12 May 2022.

As part of IYPH, the International plant health community organised a variety of other plant health related events and initiatives at global, regional and national levels. The Euphresco network for Phytosanitary Research Coordination and Funding and the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) of Bari launched the video contest ‘Plant Health TV: Research that helps Plant Health’ as part of the celebrations for the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). Thirty-seven videos met the competition requirements and were displayed on the Euphresco website. An international jury, composed of Ms D’Onghia (CIHEAM Bari), Ms Lafontaine (Canada), Ms Kansilanga (IAPSC), Ms Luck (PBRI-AU), Ms McMullen (EPPO), Ms Nahdi (ESA), Ms Yim (Republic of Korea) and Mr Giovani (EPPO-Euphresco), reviewed and scored the videos based on several criteria and one winner and four runners-up were identified.

The winner (gold medal) of the video contest is Ms Shery-Ann Brown (see her video), from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaica. The silver medal of the video contest goes to (ex-aequo): Mr Richard Buggs, from the Royal Botanic Garden Kew, United Kingdom and Mr Kyril Sotirovski, from the Ss Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia (see Richard Buggs video and Kiril Sotirovski video). The bronze medal of the video contest goes to (ex-aequo): Ms Irene Cabal Blanco, from ClearDetections, the Netherlands and Ms Patrice Pitter, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaica (see Irene Cabal Blanco video and Patrice Pitter video).

The Compendium on the ‘Plant Health research priorities for the Mediterranean region’ is another initiative in the International Year of Plant Health framework and it is the result of the collaboration of experts from leading organizations and initiatives in the region: the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), the Euphresco network for phytosanitary research coordination and funding, the Arab Society for Plant Protection, the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Mediterranean Phytopathological Union and the Near East Plant Protection Organization.

The compendium summarizes the result of a survey on plant health research priorities organised among experts from National Plant Protection Organizations and research organizations in the Balkan-Mediterranean, Eastern Mediterranean, Maghreb, and Western Mediterranean. The most threatening pests, the research priorities, the important research infrastructures and the needs in terms of capacity are presented.