A. General Information

1. Title

IPPC ePhyto Solution

2. Implementation period of the project/service:
4. Geographical coverage
Participating countries: American Samoa, Austria, Bahamas, Belize, Benin, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Hong Kong, China, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Zambia
Hub Point: Italy
5. 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
6. Main stakeholders/beneficiaries of the service
Traders (big enterprises)
Traders (SMEs)
Customs brokers
7. Business process category of the service
Regulatory/official control

B. Lessons Learned

8. Summary description of the project/service
Brief Summary

  IPPC ePhyto Solutions


Registered - 15 

Testing       - 29     

Live             - 65

New to Hub - 6   Algeria, Belize, Malawi, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Switzerland

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 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
9. Documents and data exchanged via the service

Phytosanitary Certificates 

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

Please refer to this link for details:

11. Main challenges faced during the 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. 

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


13. Main benefit(s) of the service
Enhanced regulatory compliance*
Transaction Cost savings*
Transaction Time savings
Simplified process
Increased trade flow
13A. 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. 
14. 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. 

15. Future plan for expansion of the 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.


16. Other information or relevant references on the service
17. Relevant document regarding the service

C. Relevant Standards

19. Electronic message standard
19A. Electronic message standard supporting the service
19B. Type of standard for electronic message applied for the service
International standard
Technical recommendations from international body(ies)
20. Technical communication standard
20A. Technical communication standard supporting the service
20B. Type of technical communication standard applied for the service
21. Security-related standards*
21A. Security-related standard supporting the service
21B. Type of security-related standard applied for the service
22. Other Technical Information
22A. Interface developed for data exchange with an internal system
22B. Other technical implementation information