Launch of the International Year of Plant Health and other events at FAO Council

Plants make up 80 percent of the food we eat. Yet, they are under constant threat from pests and diseases. Up to 40 percent of global food crops are destroyed by pests every year, resulting in annual agricultural trade losses of over $220 billion, and millions of people left hungry.

Policies and actions to promote plant health are fundamental for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will launch the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) for 2020 to raise awareness about the importance of plant health in addressing hunger, poverty and environmental threats, and boosting economic development.

FAO and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) will lead activities for the implementation of the Year – declared by the United Nations at the end of 2018 – and to promote plant health in 2020 and beyond.

The International Year of Plant Health will be launched by Qu Dongyu, FAO Director-General (at 6 pm, Sheikh Zayed Centre) during the 163rd session of the FAO Council.

The following guests will also speak at the opening session:

  • António Guterres, UN Secretary-General (by video message)
  • Edward Centeno Gadea, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Nicaragua
  • Andrew Doyle, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland
  • Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland
  • Tamara Finkelstein, Permanent Secretary of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK

Other events on plant health and sidelines of the FAO Council:

The launch will be followed by a panel discussion on plant health (Sheikh Zayed Centre), and journalists are also invited to visit an exhibition (Atrium) marking the event.

As part of its efforts to engage the public and increase knowledge about plant health, FAO will launch a photo contest, asking amateur and professional photographers to share photos of healthy and unhealthy plants.

The following side events will also take place on the sidelines of the FAO Council (Sheikh Zayed Centre):

  • New Challenges through Innovation (3 December 2019)
  • New Business Model of Cooperation: Hand-in-Hand and other Initiatives (4 December 2019)
  • Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control (4 December 2019)
  • World Soil Day Celebration (5 December 2019)
  • Innovation through Personalized Nutrition (6 December 2019)

Source: FAO