The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is an international treaty that aims to secure coordinated, effective action to prevent and to control the introduction and spread of pests of plants and plant products. The Convention extends beyond the protection of cultivated plants to the protection of natural flora and plant products. It takes into consideration both direct and indirect damage by pests, so it includes weeds. It also covers vehicles, aircraft and vessels, containers, storage places, soil and other objects or material that can harbour or spread pests. Under the IPPC, the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) are the standards adopted by the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM), which is the governing body of the IPPC. The IPPC is the only standard setting organization for plant health.

In addition, these standards, guidelines and recommendations are recognized as the basis for phytosanitary measures applied in trade by the Members of the World Trade Organization under the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement). Standards in themselves are not regulatory instruments but come into force once countries establish requirements within their national legislation.

For information regarding living modified organisms (LMOs), see the standard ISPM-11 entitled “Pest risk analysis for quarantine pests” and its annex “Pest risk analysis for living modified organisms”.