Biosecurity and Trade

Biosecurity is a strategic and integrated approach to analyzing and managing relevant risks to human, animal and plant life and health and associated risks to the environment. Interest in biosecurity has risen considerably over the last decade in parallel with increasing trade in food, plant and animal products, more international travel, new outbreaks of transboundary disease affecting animals, plants and people, heightened awareness of biological diversity and greater attention to the environment and the impact of agriculture on environmental sustainability.

Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTSs) need to position themselves to take advantage of trading opportunities, while protecting their natural resource base from potential risks.
SPC conducts biosecurity training for Micronesian countries
Tuesday, 09 July 2013 11:28
The 12th Annual SPC/UOG/USDA APHIS biosecurity training, held at the University of Guam (UOG) from 28 to 31 May 2013, included participants from Kiribati and Nauru for the first time.

The annual event, facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), UOG and the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS), is important for Micronesia given the enormous movement of goods and passengers among countries within the subregion, both by air and sea.

The training is meant to strengthen the skills of those at the front line of the inspection process – the quarantine and biosecurity officers who carry out inspections and make decisions regarding the entrance of products and goods.

According to SPC’s Josua Wainiqolo, ‘most of the countries and territories of Micronesia have a good status regarding plant and animal health (for both terrestrial and aquatic animals) that should be maintained and preserved; on the other hand, all these countries are hot spots of biodiversity, and the accidental or deliberate introduction of diseases, pests and pathogens through the movement of good and people could have an extremely negative impact on the environment and society.

‘These are the main reasons why biosecurity, understood as a standardised set of measures and protocols to minimise the release, exposure and consequences of biological risks, is so crucial in the small islands and territories of the Pacific region.’

Mr Wainiqolo said that participants were quite satisfied with the content and structure of the training, and the practical and fieldwork sessions.

‘Last year, most of the participants requested more practical or hands-on training, adapted to their current experience and knowledge; this is why the training this year had more sessions devoted to practice,’ he said.

The theoretical sessions, he added, were better adapted to the real needs and experience of the majority of the biosecurity officers in Micronesia.

A total of 26 quarantine and biosecurity officers from across Micronesia attended the four days of training.

Participating countries included Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau and Guam.

Practical sessions were conducted in various locations, such as the plant inspection facility of USDA APHIS, the entomology laboratory of the University of Guam and a rhino beetle control area on Guam.

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(For further information please contact Vinesh Prasad on telephone (679)3370733, email LRD Help Desk on email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it visit the SPC website: www.spc.int.)