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PBRI participates in a global collaboration for plant health

Plants in a quarantine glasshouse at the Tamworth Agricultural Institute.
Photo: Nicole Baxter

As a member of the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI), GRDC is delighted to announce the release of a paper, ‘Science diplomacy for plant health’. The paper, highlighting the value of national and international coordination in plant health biosecurity research, was published in the prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Plants, coinciding with the United Nations International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) International Year of Plant Health 2020.

International research collaboration is key to fighting plant pests and diseases, which cause up to 40 per cent of global food crop loss – some A$300 billion in losses every year.

PBRI coordinates and supports plant biosecurity research in Australia through a partnership between Australia’s plant research and development corporations, Plant Health Australia and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. The PBRI is also building international linkages and coordination, such as with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the research-funding network Euphresco.

Biosecurity preparedness

“Increased international coordination for plant health will strengthen biosecurity preparedness for the Australian grains industry,” says Dr Jeevan Khurana, GRDC’s manager of biosecurity.

“With Australia being a grain exporting nation and a large importer of various goods, increasing global trade and tourism translates into greater biosecurity risks for the grains industry. International coordination is an important part of our approach to ensure Australian grains industry preparedness against biosecurity threats and forms part of the GRDC biosecurity core framework strategy. Our membership of the PBRI is helping us to deliver on that,” Dr Khurana says.

The paper’s lead author, Euphresco coordinator Dr Baldissera Giovani, and others from around the world including from Australia and New Zealand, represent a collaboration of experts from the global plant health community to better address the challenges of plant health.

“Science is the key to build synergies between national and international communities. Establishing a global research network of phytosanitary experts and researchers, and boosting international collaboration, is crucial to help both local and international authorities fight plant health threats and find common solutions to emerging global challenges,” says co-author Dr Jingyuan Xia, the IPPC secretary officer in charge and director of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Plant Production and Protection Division.

The partnerships between PBRI, Euphresco and Better Border Biosecurity New Zealand will strengthen this global alliance and support the IPPC Strategic Framework 2020–30, which outlines a development agenda on global phytosanitary research coordination.

More information: Science diplomacy for plant health, International Plant Protection Convention news.

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