Invasive alien species pose major threats to agriculture, food security and biological diversity. The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) aims to ensure common and effective action for preventing the spread and introduction of pests of plants and plant products, and promoting measures for their control. The IPPC therefore is of immediate relevance to countries that are parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and that are striving to devise policies and programmes to implement Article 8(h) of the CBD, namely to Prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species. Indeed, the Conference of the Parties of CBD has acknowledged the contribution of the IPPC to the implementation of article 8(h) of the CBD and invited the IPPC to consider incorporating criteria related to threats to biodiversity posed by invasive species into its work on standards and other matters.
Many countries, especially developing countries with limited resources, are uncertain of how to establish cost-effective systems to identify the risks associated with invasive alien species and to manage those risks. The difficulties faced are diverse and numerous. They include: the high level of complexity in ecosystems; a lack of knowledge about ecological threats; the pressure of globalized trade and international travel, with the associated movement of organisms; and fragmented national authority for risk analysis and control measures. However, countries that are contracting parties to the IPPC enjoy the benefit of well-developed structures to prevent the introduction and spread of plant pests that have been established over a period of several decades.
There is increasingly close cooperation between the CBD and IPPC: the two Conventions encourage the presence of observers at relevant meetings; issues of biodiversity are being addressed in the development and revision of applicable international standards under the IPPC.
As part of this cooperative endeavour, a major workshop on invasive alien species and the IPPC framework was held in Braunschweig, Germany, in September 2003. The workshop was funded by Germanys Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture and organized jointly by the Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry and the IPPC Secretariat. It brought together national representatives from phytosanitary and environmental protection agencies from 58 countries, as well as international experts and agency representatives.
We are pleased to make the proceedings of this week-long workshop available to those with an interest in the management of invasive alien species. This publication contains the 39 technical papers presented at the workshop and a report of the practical exercises. A short information digest for each of the eight subject areas covered in the workshop is provided.
In recent years, both Conventions have taken steps to address the significant problems of invasive alien species, and recognize that much still remains to be done. The publication of the proceedings of this workshop signals a number of opportunities in this regard. We hope the publication will prove useful and wish to thank all those who contributed to and participated in the workshop.
Niek van der Graaff
Secretary, International Plant Protection Convention
Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Parliamentary State Secretary, Germany