The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is a 1951 multilateral treaty overseen by the Food and Agriculture Organization that aims to secure coordinated, effective action to prevent and to control the introduction and spread of pests of plants and plant products.
The Convention extends beyond the protection of cultivated plants to the protection of natural flora and plant products. It also takes into consideration both direct and indirect damage by pests, so it includes weeds.
The Convention created a governing body consisting of each party, known as the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures, which oversees the implementation of the Convention.
As of August 2017, the Convention has 183 parties, which includes 180 United Nations member states, the Cook Islands, Niue, and the European Union.
The Convention is recognized by the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement) as the only international standard setting body for plant health.
While the IPPC’s primary focus is on plants and plant products moving in international trade, the Convention also covers research materials, biological control organisms, germplasm banks, containment facilities, food aid, emergency aid and anything else that can act as a vector for the spread of plant pests – for example, containers, packaging materials, soil, vehicles, vessels and machinery.