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Year to celebrate plants!

Publication date 21.12.2018 9.21
Press release

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2020 the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). The year is expected to increase awareness by the public and policy makers of the importance of healthy plants and the necessity to protect them in order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Today, up to 40 percent of global food crops are lost annually due to plant pests.  In terms of economic value, plant diseases alone cost the global economy around US$220 billion annually and invasive insects around US$70 billion.

- The International Year of Plant Health is a key initiative to highlight the importance of plant health to enhance food security, protect the environment and biodiversity, and boost economic development, FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo said in New York.

Jingyuan Xia, Secretary to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), added:

- Despite the increasing impact of plant pests, resources are scarce to address the problem. We hope this new International Year of Plant Health will trigger greater global collaboration to support plant health policies at all levels, which will contribute significantly to the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland  proposed the proclamation of the year and has been instrumental in negotiating its acceptance in international organizations. The proposal received overwhelming international support in the IPPC, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the 73rd UN General Assembly.

- Pests and diseases don’t carry passports or observe immigration requirements and, therefore, the prevention of the spread of such organisms is very much an international undertaking that requires the collaboration of all countries. This is why Finland proposed to proclaim 2020 the International Year of Plant Health, Jari Leppä, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland said.

An International Plant Health Conference will be among thousands of plant health events to be held globally throughout 2020. Ministry also intends to organize several events in Finland and has offered to host the International Plant Health Conference.

Healthy plants are the foundation for all life, ecosystem functions and food security. Plant pests and diseases damage crops, reducing the availability of food and increasing its cost. Sustaining plant health protects the environment, forests and biodiversity from plant pests, addresses the effects of climate change, and supports efforts to end hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

Related Links:

International Year of Plant Health: first video and second video

Factsheet: “Championing an International Year of Plant Health”

Contacts in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland:

Taina Aaltonen, Deputy Director General, tel. +358 295162439

Ralf Lopian, Senior Advisor, tel. +358 295162329

Jari Leppä