16th preparatory session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM-16)
Upon completion of the preparatory workshop for the 16th preparatory session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM-16), contracting parties to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) have recommitted to uphold and maintain standards in the plant health sector across the African continent.
The contracting parties met for three days in a Hybrid meeting set-up, organized by African Union Inter-African Phytosanitary Council (AU-IAPSC) under the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Blue Economy (ARBE) of the African Union Commission.
The three days’ meeting hosted in Douala Cameroon, offered an opportunity to participants to examine both the existing and new standards, championed by IPPC, in ensuring that member states are not only working towards ensuring crop productivity but doing so within the legal, political and scientific frameworks.
The meeting also saw the contracting parties deliberating and exchanging views, ahead of the CPM16, in ensuring that the African region speaks with in one accord and in the interest of all member states.
What also transpired clearly from the pre-CPM16 meeting was how crucial phytosanitary standards are in enabling African member states work systematically but also strategically, and allow for a synchronization of efforts in plant health management.
Discussions not only centred on challenges facing various players in the phytosanitary domains, but also provided solutions on ways and means in which those challenges can best be addressed, both by AU-IAPSC as a regional coordinating body, IPPC at a global level and the member states themselves.
Dr. Jean Gerard Mezui M`ella AU – IAPSC Director
Addressing the meeting earlier, Director of AU-IAPSC, Dr. Jean Gerard Mezui M`ella noted that the preparatory meeting offered a perfect opportunity for the Africa region to speak with one unified voice in addressing the rising problems surrounding food security, by among others embracing modern solutions to plant health.
“We need to join hands in implementing some recommendations which we will together take to CPM. The decisions we will arrive at in this Pre-CPM are not just concerning one member state or particular standard members, but all of us together, as the outcome affects us all too at a continental level.
“I dare you to come forward and be vigilant in ensuring that presentations, questions and general discussions do not mince words but tackle even the most difficult aspects of our work,” he said.
In her remarks on behalf of Cameroonian Minister of Agriculture the Secretary General Prof Mbong Bambot Grace Annih said while pests and diseases are major obstacles to agricultural development, compliance with international standards such as Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) remains a major challenge among member states.
She therefore called upon the contracting parties to look forward to the CPM with practical solutions including identifying opportunities brought about by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement which covers areas such as trade facilitation as well as regulatory measures and technical barriers to trade.
“The AfCFTA offers an enormous opportunity for Africa’s transformation, competitiveness and development. Effective implementation of the AfCFTA would therefore not only boost intra-African trade, but also help Africa to industrialise and diversify its production beyond energy and mining,” she said.
The meeting also intimated on the Plant Health Strategy for Africa, which was recently adopted at the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly, which is considered key in addressing the various challenges in the phytosanitary field.
The contracting parties, drawn from over 30 African member states, were thus challenged to start domesticating the strategy and including it into various agricultural programmes and projects.
This year’s 16th session of the CMP will take place virtually on 5th, 7th and 21st April 2022.