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Working group discussions

WG I – International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 2

This first working group focused on the issue of guidelines for pest risk analysis (PRA) outlined in the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 2 and found on page 114 of the “Report of the expert consultation on coconut beetle outbreak in APPPC member countries, 26 - 27 October 2004, Bangkok, Thailand”.

The group, after reviewing the material provided, assessed the three stages of the PRA in the context of its implementation in the countries represented at the meeting. The group discussion, moderated by Dr Soetikno of CABI, concluded that:

  1. Countries are aware of ISPM No. 2, however, knowledge of the protocol is weak. It is recommended that the protocol is made available to all the various stakeholders across sectors within countries via nodal points
  2. Item 1 needs to be re-inforced by the APPC
  3. Many countries are only partially prepared for the implementation of the PRA protocol, with the exception of China which is capable of meeting the various needs or stages
  4. Considering the dearth of resources (financial, human, infrastructure, etc.) amongst developing countries, it is recommended that capacity building in the various components of PRA should be strengthened
  5. In the context of the coconut beetle, to date there is no specific PRA by countries infested with the beetle. It is therefore important that PRA is done in order to benefit countries that are potentially exposed to the problem, such as India and Sri Lanka
  6. All countries indicated that the steps proposed in the ISPM are sufficiently clear
  7. Currently, the stakeholders in both the agricultural and forestry sectors are involved fully in the PRA. However, expert information is needed to strengthen the process. It is therefore recommended that international agencies should help in providing the information that underpins this process
  8. Many training programmes are currently generic to quarantine or invasive issues, therefore, there is a need to conduct specific training programmes on the various stages of PRA
  9. There is need also for collaborative efforts, sharing of information and exchange of scientists to enhance the process. Identification of expert groups within the region (such as an adequate database on experts and their expertise) will facilitate the process

WG II – International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 3

This second working group focused on the Code of Conduct (CoC) for the import and release of exotic biological control agents found in the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 3, and found on page 127 of the “Report of the expert consultation on coconut beetle outbreak in APPPC member countries, 26 - 27 October 2004, Bangkok, Thailand”.

Recognizing that current management of the invasive coconut leaf beetle can be managed successfully by the importation of exotic parasitoids, this working group reviewed the steps recommended by the ISPM No. 3, and assessed the implementation of the CoC in the context of its implementation in the countries represented at the meeting. Moderated by Mr Wilco Liebregts, the group concluded that:

  1. Awareness on ISPM No. 3 within national institutions is generally adequate, although not all staff in the relevant institutions may be familiar. It is therefore recommended that national institutions encourage their staff to become familiar with ISPM No. 3.
  2. China has adequate capacity to implement the CoC; other countries in the region require strengthening in skill development, policy development and improved facilities
  3. The steps proposed in the ISPM are sufficiently clear
  4. Build or strengthen formal and informal national, regional and international networks between individual specialists and institutions, to allow a broader consultative process on the selection, importation and release of biocontrol agents
  5. APFISN would be the appropriate network to promote strengthening of the implementation process of the CoC, and facilitate sharing between national plant protection organizations (NPPOs)

WG III – National quarantine capacity and regional cooperation

Using the example of the coconut leaf beetle, this working group focused on how to enhance national quarantine capacity and foster regional cooperation. Several suggestions were made during the panel discussion, such as, mapping, clear definition of invasive species and setting up a database.

It was pointed out that during the short tenure of the ASEAN-Planti in Malaysia for the strengthening of plant quarantine implementation, cooperation between ASEAN-Planti and CABI in promoting capabilities to support classical biological control was established. The group discussed responses to initiatives on developing national quarantine capacity to address current issues such as minimizing the spread of an invasive species, and also capability to detect and contain such invasive species.

Moderated by Dr Rethinam, the group recommended the following:

  1. Using the coconut leaf beetle (CLB) as an example for quarantine officers or agencies on quarantine measures to prevent IAS, particularly the palm family plant trade among network member countries. The importance of the CLB needs to be stressed in order to convince policy-makers about this issue
  2. Issuing a Pest Alert through FAO RAP on the CLB to alert network member countries about the beetle and the need for an emergency plan to deal with this beetle in uninfected countries, such as India and Sri Lanka. Such information is available from the presentations at this workshop. We suggest putting this information on line though the network database
  3. Mr Wilco Liebregts should summarize his FAO biological control projects on CLB, so that uninfected countries can obtain the parasitoids immediately should the CLB invade their countries. Proper coordination on this front can be achieved though the focal points with FAO/APCC/APFC or APFISN
  4. Ensure that the terms of reference for the country focal points state that one of their tasks is to identify appropriate individual(s) to represent the country on specific technical and policy issues related to invasive species
  5. As ASEAN-Planti has been replaced by APHCN, it is recommended that this agency’s scope be widened to provide services to the Asia-Pacific region
  6. FAO RAP or APFISN should coordinate efforts to clarify CLB taxonomic status through morphological and DNA means

WG IV – strengthening the role of networks

This working group, moderated by Gary Man, discussed the various issues related to networks and ways and means of strengthening them. The outputs are summarized hereunder:

  1. The network must have an established well-defined structure
  2. The network could be issue-focused, such as for invasive species
  3. The network must establish strong linkages with other relevant organizations
  4. Identifying and recruiting of members are crucial, as members’ interests and active participation are the driving forces to the relevance and sustainability of the network
  5. A dynamic facilitator/coordinator is necessary to ensure that the network functions as expected by the stakeholders
  6. The network must be on constant lookout for opportunities to organize activities or events, such as technical meetings/workshops, capacity building and exchange/sharing of information
  7. The network should strive to produce regular outputs such as newsletters, publications, maintain databases and continuously act as a distribution/dissemination channel for important announcements, such as early pest alerts
  8. Representatives of the member institutions/agencies/countries (often known as focal points) should be encouraged to have regular internal discussions for collective decision-making on issues

WG V – management and policy response needed for mitigating alien invasive species

The group, moderated by Dr Wan Fanghao, generated the following outputs:


  1. The lack of a national initiative to tackle invasive species is recognized
  2. It is recommended that a National Framework covering all types of invasive species should be in place
  3. There is weak coordination amongst stakeholders at the national level
  4. It is recommended that further strengthening and coordination among the various agencies involved with the management of invasive species should be underscored considering that issues relevant to invasive species are cross-sectoral in nature
  5. Many countries in the region have an incomplete list of invasive species found within the country
  6. It is recommended that countries take the initiative to regularly update their species lists
  7. Many countries in the region are ill-prepared for the management of invasive species that could potentially harm their economies
  8. It is recommended that a rapid response system be developed for preventing risks


  1. Awareness on the issues and problems of invasive species is not given much national emphasis
  2. It is recommended that concerted awareness should be raised among all stakeholders on problems and various implications
  3. Funding is generally lacking for undertaking the various activities related to invasive species management
  4. It is recommended that governments, during planning processes, should allocate adequate funding on a regular and proactive basis to support activities
  5. Competencies (e.g. PRA) to manage invasive species strategically are insufficient
  6. It is recommended that regulatory functions for implementing the management of invasive species be strengthened beyond the roles of conventional quarantine measures

WG VI – identified areas for research needs

The group, moderated by Dr Chaudhuri, identified the following areas where research needs are required:

  1. Assessment technology (criteria indicators, impact assessment)
  2. Application technology
  3. Monitoring
  4. Taxonomy
  5. Socio-economic (invasive species becoming economically important)
  6. Pest risk analysis
  7. Biological control
  8. Search for alternate parasitoids
  9. Developing plant-based products
  10. Exploring indigenous knowledge
  11. Economic evaluation
  12. Loss of productivity
  13. Loss of biodiversity
  14. Regulatory measures/quarantine
  15. Policy and legal issues
  16. Database management
  17. Acquiring research capacity – scientists, forest managers, policy-makers, regulatory authorities
  18. Dissemination of knowledge – people, NGOs, extension workers, field staff, industrial groups

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