Globalisation and international trade of plants and plant products have greatly increased the risk of introduction of plant diseases and pests in places they did not previously occur. Moreover, due to climate change, these organisms can survive in our regions, become established and cause major economic and ecological damages. A well-known example is the destruction of a large part of the European vineyards in the 19th century due to the introduction of grape phylloxera from North America. A recent example is the olive tree mortality in southern Italy by contamination with the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa originating from Central America.
International Plant Protection Convention
The countries that joined the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation) signed a plant protection convention (International Plant Protection Convention, IPPC) in 1951 in order to create an international framework in which countries can take measures to protect plant health. More information is available on the IPPC website.
International Day of Plant Health
The United Nations designated 12 May as the International Day of Plant Health (IDPH) to raise global awareness of plant health and how it can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and boost economic development. The Day is a key legacy of the International Year of Plant Health 2020.
European Plant Health Law
Preventing the introduction of plant pests is essential for sustainable agriculture, horticulture and forestry, for securing food supply and for protecting our environment. In October 2016, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 on protective measures against plant pests (“Plant Health Law”), which became applicable on 14 December 2019. These rules constitute the EU Plant Health Regime, which has been in place since 1977 and is now fully reviewed.
EU-regulated quarantine organisms for plants and plants products are listed in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2072.
All EU countries are required to notify the European Commission and other EU countries of the presence of quarantine organisms on their territory, and the measures taken to eradicate or control the spread. The outbreaks are published in annual reports.
Also interceptions of harmful organisms in imported plants and plant products are reported. These interceptions are published monthly on the website of the European Commission.