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2
The Convention on Biological Diversity’s programme of work on invasive alien species


Robert Höft

Environmental Affairs Officer, CBD Secretariat, 393 Rue Saint-Jacques, Suite 300, Montréal, QC H2Y 1N9, Canada; e-mail: robert.hoft@biodiv.org

Abstract

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) share issues of common concern, notably in relation to alien species and living modified organisms. The Conference of the Parties to the CBD has recognized the role of the IPPC in dealing with invasive alien species. This paper outlines the collaborative work of the two conventions and opportunities for future partnerships. The CBD’s recent major projects on invasive alien species are listed.

Introduction

Convention on Biological Diversity, Article 8(g)

“Article 8. In-situ Conservation

Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate: ...

(g) Establish or maintain means to regulate, manage or control the risks associated with the use and release of living modified organisms resulting from biotechnology which are likely to have adverse environmental impacts that could affect the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account the risks to human health;...”

The objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity are the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. Issues of common concern for the CBD and the International Plant Protection Convention include work on alien species pursuant to CBD Article 8(h) and on living modified organisms pursuant to Articles 8(g) and 19 and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

In 1998, the fourth Conference of the Parties to the CBD decided that alien species were a cross-cutting issue within the convention. It asked the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to develop guiding principles for the prevention, introduction and mitigation of impacts of alien species.

Since then, the Conference of the Parties has further emphasized the need for international cooperation on the threats posed by invasive alien species. It has acknowledged the role of the International Plant Protection Convention in addressing invasive alien species and recommended that Parties consider ratifying the IPPC.

Collaborative initiatives

In recent years the CBD and IPPC have been working cooperatively in several ways. The Conference of the Parties has invited collaboration on the elaboration of standards and agreements, by incorporating elements related to threats to biodiversity posed by alien species in standards such as the international standards for phytosanitary measures. There has been close collaboration between both conventions in the development of the supplement to ISPM 11 and its later revision to ISPM [2004]: Pest risk analysis for quarantine pests, including analysis of environmental risks and living modified organisms, and there are opportunities for further collaboration such as on the revision of ISPM 3: The code of conduct for the import and release of exotic biological control agents.

The CBD and IPPC also work in partnership on selected strategy elements of the Global Taxonomy Initiative, for which IPPC’s Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation is an important tool to assess user needs. Furthermore, the CBD collaborates on the International Phytosanitary Portal (IPP) and the International Portal on Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health, which involves WTO, IPPC, Office International des Épizooties (OIE), Codex Alimentarius Commission and CBD, among other agencies.

To formalize the collaboration between the CBD and the IPPC, a Memorandum of Cooperation has been established and a joint work plan developed.

Programme of work on invasive alien species

When deciding that alien species were a cross-cutting issue for implementation of many of the themes of the CBD, the Conference of the Parties also asked SBSTTA to identify priorities for work on alien species in geographically and evolutionarily isolated ecosystems and to examine the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) with a view to developing proposals for further action.

Some recent highlights of the CBD’s programme of work on invasive alien species include:

Additional information on the programme of work on invasive alien species is available at www.biodiv.org.

References

CBD. 2002. Sixth Conference of the Parties, The Hague, the Netherlands, 7-19 April 2002: Decision VI/23: Alien species that threaten ecosystems, habitats or species to which is annexed Guiding principles for the prevention, introduction and mitigation of impacts of alien species that threaten ecosystems, habitats or species (available at www.biodiv.org).

CBD. 2003. Ninth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical And Technological Advice, Montreal, Canada, 10-14 November 2003. Invasive alien species: identification of specific gaps and inconsistencies in the international regulatory framework (document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/15, available at www.biodiv.org).

CBD. 2004. Seventh Conference of the Parties, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 9-20 and 27 February 2004: Decision VII/13: Alien species that threaten ecosystems, habitats or species (Article 8 (h)) (available at www.biodiv.org).

Shine, C., Williams, N. & Gündling, L. 2000. A guide to designing legal and institutional frameworks on alien invasive species. IUCN Environmental Policy and Law Paper No. 40. Gland, Switzerland, Cambridge and Bonn, IUCN. xvi + 138pp (document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/6/INF/8, available at www.biodiv.org).

Wittenberg, R. & Cock, M.J.W., eds. 2001. Invasive alien species: a toolkit of best prevention and management practices. Global Invasive Species Programme. Wallingford, Oxon, UK, CAB International. xvii + 228 pp (available at www.gisp.org).


[2] CBD note: One representative entered a formal objection during the process leading to the adoption of this decision (decision VI/23) and underlined that he did not believe that the Conference of the Parties could legitimately adopt a motion or a text with a formal objection in place. A few representatives expressed reservations regarding the procedure leading to the adoption of this decision (see UNEP/CBD/COP/6/20, paragraphs 294-324).

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