A. General Information

1. Title

IPPC ePhyto Solution

2. Status of the project/service
3. Implementation period of the project/service:
5. Geographical coverage
6. Participating agencies/entities of the project/service:
a. Development stage
Lead agencies/entities
International Plant Protection Convention Secretariat/(NPPOs)
Other participating agencies/entities
Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation
b. Operational stage
Lead agencies/entities (op)
International Plant Protection Convention Secretariat
Other participating agencies/entities (op)
United Nations International Computing Center
7. Main stakeholders/beneficiaries of the project/services
Traders (big enterprises)
Traders (SMEs)
Customs brokers
8. Business process category of the project/service
Regulatory/official control

B. Lessons Learned

9. Summary description of the project/service
a. Objective(s)

To provide developing countries with a simple generic system for the production, sending and receipt of electronic phytosanitary certificates and to establish a harmonized exchange tool to facilitate the exchange of electronic certificates as an alternative to the current practice of exchanging paper certificates. The establishment of these tools will improve the security of official communications between countries and the trade flows. It will also eliminate the cost and complexity of countries developing individual systems for electronic data exchange and the necessity to negotiate exchange protocols on a country by country basis. 

b. Business need for the project/service (background)

To face the challenges deriving from the cross-border trade complexities in the area of plant pest control which may threaten not only supply chain safety, transiting countries, as well as the flora of vast areas in importing countries. The Project provides all interested IPPC Contracting Parties a facilitated and secure exchange of phytosanitary certificate information in electronic/digital form (the ePhyto).

c. Business process covered*

Exchange of electronic Phytosanitary Certificates  

d. Overall architecture and functionalities*
  • Use of the Hub is voluntary
  • The Hub is a single, multilateral system
  • The Hub is available 24/7 (secure and monitored)
  • No information (messages, transactions) should be lost
  • There is a single exchange protocol
  • The IPPC determines the version of UN/CEFACT schema
  • Participating countries will require a National System to exchange ePhyto through the Hub or use the Generic system


e. Relevant document/figure
10. Documents and data exchanged via the project/service

Phytosanitary Certificates 

11. Data models/databases, proprietary solutions, hybrid approaches

Please refer to this link for details:

12. Main challenges faced during the project/service

Lack of resources and challenges to initiate the Project due to delays on the part of some international and national stakeholders. Nothing else out of the ordinary for a technical project of this type. 

13. Lessons learned from the project/service
  • time savings in processing goods at the border,
  • a reduction in fraudulent certificates,
  • elimination of costs for courier services (based on case studies )


14. Main benefit(s) of the project/service
Enhanced regulatory compliance*
Transaction Cost savings*
Transaction Time savings
Simplified process
Increased trade flow
14A. Elaborations/detailed description on benefits gained:
  • Reduce possibilities for fraudulent documentation
  • Reduce multiple data entry and validation functions by NPPO staff
  • Improve security in the transmission of certificate documentation
  • Improve planning for the arrival and clearance of plants and plant products at customs
  • Reduce delays in receiving replacement phytosanitary certificates
  • Maximize the investment by building on existing initiatives
  • Reduce ongoing and costly bilateral arrangements
  • Ability to link into the World Customs Organization “Single Window Environment” initiative, harmonize codes and processes. 
15. Technical/financial/capacity building/other assistance

Some IPPC Contracting parties as well as the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation and the World Bank provided both technical and financial assistance. 

16. Future plan for expansion of the project and service

The project is global and focused on phytosanitary certificates only at this time. IPPC has invited the other two SPS “sisters”, as well as any other organization interested in electronically exchanging documents currently in paper form to evaluate the opportunity of using the developed centralized HUB and available tools.


17. Other information or relevant references on the project and service
18. Relevant document regarding the project/service

C. Relevant Standards

20. Electronic message standard
20A. Electronic message standard supporting the project/service:
20B. Type of standard for electronic message applied for the project/service
International standard
Technical recommendations from international body(ies)
21. Technical communication standard
21A. Technical communication standard supporting the project/service
21B. Type of technical communication standard applied for the project/service
22. Security-related standards*
22A. Security-related standard supporting the project/service
22B. Type of security-related standard applied for the project/service
23. Other Technical Information
23A. Interface developed for data exchange with an internal system
23B. Other technical implementation information