Following is UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ message for the launch of the International Year of Plant Health, in Rome today:
Plants are essential to all life on Earth, including humanity. They provide us with most of our food and the oxygen we breathe. For nearly half the global population, plants are a primary source of income and we all rely on them for clothes, medicines, and shelter among other things. By preserving plant health, we contribute to food security, environmental protection, economic development, and our own health.
To raise awareness about the importance of plants for achieving zero hunger and the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2020 the International Year of Plant Health.
Despite their importance, plants are increasingly threatened by the climate crisis, invasive pests and diseases and unregulated movement of people and goods. We need to strengthen the capacity of national, regional and global institutions to develop and implement phytosanitary standards and actions to improve plant health.
On this International Year and throughout this Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, let us dedicate the necessary resources and increase our commitment to plant health. Let us act for people and planet.