Plants are life – we depend on them for 80 percent of the food we eat and 98 percent of the oxygen we breathe. But international travel and trade has been associated with the introduction and spread of plant pests. Invasive pest species are one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss and threaten the delicate web of life that sustains our planet.
Pests and diseases have also been associated with rising temperatures which create new niches for pests to populate and spread. In response, the use of pesticides could increase, which harms pollinators, natural pest enemies and organisms crucial for a healthy environment. Protecting plant health is essential by promoting environmentally friendly practices such as integrated pest management. International standards for phytosanitary measures (ISPMs) in trade also help prevent the introduction and spread of plant pests across borders.
The International Day of Plant Health 2023 calls on everyone to raise awareness and take action to keep our plants healthy and help protect the environment and biodiversity.
Why an International Day of Plant Health?
The United Nations designated 12 May the International Day of Plant Health (IDPH) to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and boost economic development. The Day is a key legacy of the International Year of Plant Health 2020.