The year presents an opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment and boost economic development.
Quick facts and figures
Plants are life: Plants make up 80% of the food we eat and produce 98% of the oxygen we breathe.
Economic benefits: The annual value of trade in agricultural products has grown almost three-fold over the past decade, largely in emerging economies and developing countries, reaching USD 1.7 trillion.
A growing demand: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that agricultural production must rise about 60% by 2050 in order to feed a larger and more affluent population.
Pest destruction: Plant pests are responsible for losses of up to 40% percent of food crops globally, and for trade losses in agricultural products worth over USD 220 billion each year.
Hungry pests: One million locusts can eat about one tonne of food a day, and the largest swarms can consume over 100,000 tonnes each day, or enough to feed tens of thousands of people for one year.
Climate impacts: Climate change threatens to reduce not only the quantity of crops, lowering yields, but also the nutritious value. Rising temperatures also mean that more plant pests are appearing earlier and in places where they were never seen before.
Beneficial bugs: Beneficial insects are vital for plant health – for pollination, pest control, soil health, nutrient recycling – and yet, insect abundance has fallen 80% in the last 25-30 years.
FAO’s recommendations on what we can do to support plant health:
- We all need to respect plant health regulations that have been put in place to protect agriculture, forestry and the environment. Be careful about bringing plants and plant products (e.g. seeds, vegetables, cut flowers) across borders, even when you order from online sources. Everyday actions also include reducing your environmental footprint, protecting natural resources and spreading the word.
- If you are a farmer or work in agribusiness, you can have a direct influence on plants, and the management of natural resources. Women and men who work in agriculture play a vital role in protecting plant health.
- Governments can protect plant health in many ways, thus enhancing food security, protecting the environment, and facilitating trade.
- Private sector businesses have a key role in plant health as they can contribute to the development of global plant health standards and help implement them. The private sector is also a driver of innovation in the plant-health domain and a key player in the production and protection of plants and plant products.
President of the International Science Council, Sir Peter Gluckman, addresses EU Ministers
Achieving sustainable development requires the full inclusion of women and girls in science
Call for expressions of interest in ISC global science-policy work | deadline: 29 February
Biodiversity data is distorted by past inequities. Scientists are wrestling to get a clearer picture.
How COP28 failed the world’s small islands
Policy Brief: Global Sea-Level Rise
New ISC policy brief: A call for a formal scientific voice in the global fight against plastic pollution
Converging and interdependent crises are amplifying the impacts of one another with often devastating consequences
FAO and the International Science Council join forces to strengthen science-policy interfaces for agrifood systems
Call for nominations of experts: negotiations of an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution
Cultivating a proactive approach to crises: first meeting of the UNEP/ISC foresight expert panel
"The making of the Golden Record of our century": daring to pursue mission-oriented science
To achieve sustainable development, the world needs to mobilize around a big science approach once more
Proclamation of the International Decade of Sciences for Sustainable Development by the United Nations General Assembly
The ISC addresses the UN High Level Political Forum and meets with the UN Secretary General
A Model for Implementing Mission Science for Sustainability: proposed by the Technical Advisory Group to the Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability
The ISC at the Second Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution
Unprecedented and Unfinished, Second Edition
UN 2023 Water Conference carries new engagements towards realizing SDG6 and future avenues for a decade of action
IPCC report: the world must cut emissions and urgently adapt to the new climate realities
Delivering actionable and science-based water solutions: new ISC policy brief launched ahead of the 2023 UN Water Conference
Achieving gender equality in Science, Technology and Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)– when will we get there?
Call to engage in Voluntary National Reviews
Distinguished lecture series - From fire to space - Basic sciences lead and shape our paths toward sustainable development
Invitation to ISC Members and their networks to second experts on horizon scanning and foresight
In wake of ‘natural’ disasters, not reducing biodiversity loss is a big missed opportunity
Concern for science and research in Afghanistan following authorities' ban on women from higher education
Contribute a blog or news item to the ISC
The ISC and UNEP to cooperate on advancing the use of science in environmental policy and decision-making
There are 8 years left to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but is it enough time?
Are we in a new era of climate adaptation implementation? The role of regional governments in facilitating local action
In the face of extreme weather events, coordinated global action to address climate change is needed at COP27
Scientific review of the first-order draft of the 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report completed
ISC and WHO sign new agreement furthering mutual scientific cooperation for global health and sustainable development
Happy birthday to the Montreal Protocol – the most successful environmental treaty of all time?
Cycling towards sustainable development
Joint letter to ISC Members from ISC President, Peter Gluckman, and Acting CEO, Mathieu Denis
Women Leading on Equitable and Inclusive Solutions to address the Climate Emergency: Webinar
Negotiations on ending global plastic pollution must be informed by scientific assessment
Strengthening the resilience of our global food system while advancing its transformation
Rethinking Food Systems
A response to The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response’s new report on the international health response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
High-level group appointed to lead the development of the ISC’s strategy in the intergovernmental system
World Logic Day, 14 January
The ISC has been honoured to have Dr Flavia Schlegel serve as its first Special Envoy for Science in Global Policy
Taking stock of progress on global change: What to expect from the UNEP Global Assessments Synthesis Report
Transformation to Sustainability: Integrating Indigenous and Western knowledge systems for water management and governance
Biodiversity as insurance: aligning economic stimulus packages with long-term nature conservation goals. A Corona Sustainability Compass blog by Jasper Meya
ISC commits to enhanced collaboration with UN-Habitat and UNDRR on urban health and wellbeing and disaster risk reduction
External evaluation report of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is now available
ICSU begins review of IPBES
ICSU at the 3rd STI Forum in New York
The United Nations proclaims the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements
SDG Interactions, gender, science-policy interface: ICSU at the High Level Political Forum
First UN Oceans conference highlights urgency to address marine pollution, warming and over-fishing
International Council for Science calls on United States to support international efforts to combat dangerous climate change
New report from scientific experts provides a unique guide to translate Sustainable Development Goals into reality
ICSU at the U.N. Ocean Conference
Sustainable Development Goals
IPBES holds first plenary meeting in Bonn
Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to meet in Panama
ICSU launches an Agenda for Action in advance of the World Summit on the Information Society