Finland’s initiative on the International Year of Plan Health 2020 about to come true
In mid-December the UN will decide on celebrating the first International Year of Plant Health in 2020. Dedicating a year to this theme was based on Finland’s initiative, which has won wide support in different parts of the world. The International Year of Plant Health is Finland’s first thematic initiative on the UN level.
Finland’s initiative concerning the International Year of Plant Health was first suggested at the General Assembly of the International Plant Protection Convention IPPC in 2015. The initiative won wide support both at the IPPC General Assembly and the General Assembly of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization FAO later that year. Besides the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the initiative has been advocated in international forums by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Finland’s Permanent Representation to the UN.
The theme year is expected to enhance the knowledge of both citizens and decision-makers on how important plant health is from the perspective of the global food security, agricultural productivity, biodiversity and environmental protection. The theme year also contributes to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland Jari Leppä points out that both the initiative and the wide international support it has won highlight the professional profile of Finland and our good reputation among the international players.
Plant diseases are a global threat
Today almost 40% of the world’s plant production is lost because of pests. In economic terms plant pests cause EUR 190 billion in costs to the global economy.
By taking care of plant health we can protect the environment, forests and biodiversity against plant pests and diseases. Better awareness of plant health helps to bring forth the impacts of climate change and contributes to reducing hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
Minister Leppä wishes to remind us that pests and diseases do not carry passports or pay attention to requirements associated with immigration. Proactive measures to prevent them are a high priority and requires collaboration between all countries. “We must enhance national, regional and global awareness of plant health and its impacts on the safety and security of food production, reducing poverty and nature protection.”
Good plant health situation in Finland
Finland is well placed to initiate the International Year of Plant Health because our situation with regard to plant health is very good. However, Finland should also benefit from the theme year through better competitiveness of our agricultural products, increased export opportunities, and stronger visibility and even better reputation in international policy-making.
Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:
Deputy Director General Taina Aaltonen, tel. +358 295 162 439, [email protected]
Senior Advisor Ralf Lopian, tel. +358 295 162 329, [email protected]