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Decisive Steps Towards Making 2020 'International Year of Plant Health'
New York Ag Connection - 11/06/2018

Over 90 participants from 70 UN delegations gathered at the Finnish Mission at the United Nations to express their support for the proclamation of an International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) in 2020.

The reception, hosted by the government of Finland, was the culmination of a series of informal meetings held during the UN General Assembly Second Committee. After two well-attended readings, the draft resolution tabled by Finland is now under a 48-hour silence procedure, which will be conclude on 30 October 2018.

"Finland has tabled a draft resolution to the UNGA 73 to declare 2020 the International Year of Plant Health. I am happy to note that the initiative seems to enjoy strong cross-regional support," said Ambassador Kai Sauer, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, during her welcome speech to participants at the reception.

In her keynote speech, Ms. Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland, highlighted that "pests and diseases don't carry passports or observe immigration requirements. The prevention of the spread of such organisms is very much an international undertaking that requires the collaboration of all countries."

"We must raise national, regional and global awareness of plant health and its effects on food security, poverty eradication and environmental protection. This is why Finland is putting forward an initiative for proclaiming 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health," she concluded.

FAO also expressed its strong support through the speech of Ms. Carla Mucavi, Director of the FAO Liaison Office in New York:

"FAO maintains that the proclamation of an IYPH in 2020 as a paramount initiative to increase awareness of the importance of healthy plants to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals."

She added that "FAO, through its International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) provides a framework to protect the world's plant resources from the harm caused by pests. Declaring 2020 the International Year of Plant Health will highlight the importance of plant health and trigger a global alliance to support plant health polices as a significant contributor to global food security, economic development, environmental and human health protection."

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