The genesis of the Caribbean Plant Health Directors (CPHD) Forum was largely the result of efforts by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Heath and Inspection Services (USDA / APHIS) and CARICOM, with support from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
A critical goal of the CPHD Forum is to increase communication and the transparent exchange of sanitary information among Caribbean Countries. One of the means of promoting this exchange is through individual and group interchange of information via the annual CPHD Forum Meeting as the Region does not have a regional sanitary organisation as do all other sub-regions of the Americas (e.g. OIRSA-Central America/Mexico/DR, CAN, COSAVE).
As such, CPHDs’ drive is to form a plant health organization comprising all Caribbean countries as well as a series of technical working groups under the annual meeting of the CPHD Fourm.
The five Technical Working Groups of the Caribbean Plant Heath Directors Forum are:
More formally, the CPHD Forum meetings serve as the technical resource base which proposes policy recommendations and apprise the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) (Agriculture) on matters (1) related to safeguarding against and/or minimising the impact of pests and diseases to the Region’s agriculture and environment and (2) addressing issues related to phytosanitary measures in trade in plants and plant products.
The First Meeting of the Caribbean Plant Health Directors, was convened at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat Headquarters, Georgetown, Guyana on April 23rd -25th, 2008, in collaboration with the Inter- American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA),United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) , the French Agricultural research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and Caribbean Agricultural research and Development Institute (CARDI).
Each collaborator plays a pivotal role towards the CPHD forum and its initiatives.
Plant Health is one of the three pillars of a Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS) regime that countries are required to implement in order to facilitate trade, hence these meetings constitutes an important activity related to the prevention and management of plant pests affecting the Caribbean region. Over 50 participants including Plant Health Directors and managers from respective Ministries of Agriculture of 25 countries in the Dutch, English, French and Spanish speaking Caribbean attend the Caribbean Plant Health Directors Forum annually.