The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) came into existence in 1952. The Convention was revised in 1979, and was revised again in 1997 to align it with the World Trade Organization SPS Agreement. The IPPC is the international organization responsible for creating standards that help protect plant health. The SPS Agreement recognizes the IPPC as the international standard setting organization for plant health.
The IPPC works together with the other two international organizations named in the SPS Agreement: the OIE for animal health and Codex Alimentarius for food safety.The IPPC has developed over 30 International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs), and there are many more in various stages of development. These standards relate to specific elements of the SPS Agreement and help establish a common vocabulary for international Members.
These standards form the basis for Members of the WTO to understand and implement phytosanitary measures under the SPS Agreement. This allows all IPPC Member countries to participate in plant and plant-product trade, based on a common understanding of plant-health measures or processes and when and how these measures are applied. Non-contracting parties to the IPPC are encouraged to observe these same standards. Standards are not regulatory instruments, but come into force once countries establish them as requirements within the context of their national trade regulations or legislation.