Assessment and prioritisation of pathways
- 1. Fera Science, Sand Hutton, York, United Kingdom
- 2. French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), Angers, France
- 3. Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Merelbeke, Belgium
- 4. United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS-USDA), Sacramento 95814, United States of America
- 5. Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Ottawa K1A0Y9, Canada
There is an increasing interest, both regulatory and scientific, in the pathways used by plant pests and diseases to spread to, and establish in, new locations across the globe. A pathway can be defined as ‘any means that allows entry and spread of a pest’ (IPPC 2018), covering both natural and human driven processes. With world trade continually evolving and new trade links between countries being formed on a regular basis, new pathways are being created and emerging pathways increase in importance. Biosecurity measures such as the application of quarantine and implementing trade restrictions are usually based on species specific risk assessments of known pests and diseases. However, the larger challenge comes from emerging pests and diseases, which often are not considered a problem in their native ranges due to the coevolution of plant defences and natural control by predatory and parasitic species. In a more connected world, pathways assessments can help protect against new and emerging pest species by identifying the generic risks associated with a pathway.
The project is focussed on initiating a network of practitioners of pathway analyses for plant health. As a starting point for the network, the project partners considered addressing 4 objectives:
- Identify current systems and methodologies used to assess new and emerging horticultural trade pathways
- Identify knowledge gaps regarding current industry practices in exporting countries
- Develop proposals to overcome existing difficulties in assessing pathways
- Provide a report on options for the systematic evaluation and prioritisation of pathways
The project held a workshop in Angers, France, made up of representatives of the five partner organisations from Europe and North America and invited contributors from the French agricultural research and international cooperation organization (CIRAD) and the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO). The European partners attended in person while the North American partners attended by video conference. Each partner organisation presented their work on pathways assessment, and discussions were held on the similarities and differences between the approaches of each of the partners. This was followed up with a videoconference to further develop and report on the ideas raised at the workshop. The project partners identified a series of knowledge gaps which would need addressing to allow pathways assessments to be more widely performed, along with suggestions for approaches to filling these knowledge gaps.