The Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network (the Network) will focus on technical and organizational issues, which address the prevention, detection, eradication, and control of forest invasive species in Asia and Pacific. The Network will accomplish this through sharing appropriate information; helping to bring awareness of the economic, social, and environmental impacts of invasive species; assisting member countries of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission in building capacity to respond to invasive species on a regional scale; and engaging in other relevant activities.
At the invitation of the Government of Fiji, and in conjunction with the twentieth session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission, a pre-session workshop; Developing an Action Plan for Addressing Forest Invasive Species in Asia and Pacific was held in Nadi, Fiji, 17–18 April 2004.
The overarching objective of the workshop was to develop an action plan for activities to be implemented by the Network. The workshop reviewed the list of potential activities prepared during the Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Conference held in Kunming, China in August 2003 – adding to these, deleting as appropriate, and identifying priority activities.
The substantive sessions of the workshop comprised a panel discussion, with presentations from five panelists offering perspectives on priority elements of an action plan for the Network.
A workshop consensus emerged on the five highest priority areas for discussion:
Ø Organizational structures to support the network
Ø Stock-taking of national activities
Ø Awareness raising
Ø Capacity building
Ø Database and information sharing
The workshop discussed these priority areas in detail, including identifying specific activities – to be completed prior to the twenty-first session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission – that will comprise elements of an action plan.
1. Organizational structures to support the network
The Network will function under the auspices of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission and, as such, will be supported by the APFC secretariat.
Country-nominated focal points will be important links in the functioning of the Network. Focal points will also be responsible for coordinating Network activities within countries, and for facilitating the timely exchange of information. To date, 21 countries have designated their focal point. The country focal points will provide a linkage between the Network and other regional and global forest invasive species initiatives.
The Network will explore opportunities to mobilize resources to engage a coordinator dedicated to facilitating the implementation of Network activities.
2. Stock-take of national activities
The Network will complete a stock-take of national activities currently being implemented on forest invasive species. A starting point will be to review country reports prepared for the Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Conference to identify gaps potentially requiring capacity building. The Network will prepare guidelines to assist in standardizing the information reported in the original country reports and during national stocktaking exercises.
3. Awareness raising
The Network will collaborate in the development of a regional awareness strategy for forest invasive species. The awareness strategy will include an outline of awareness objectives and identify target audiences and measures that can be implemented to raise regional awareness of forest invasive species.
As an initial activity, the Network will develop an information factsheet announcing the establishment of the Network as a step towards building awareness of, and developing a profile for, the Network. The factsheet will include an outline of the objectives of the Network, identify the Network’s membership and describe the initial activities to be implemented.
4. Capacity building
Opportunities for collaboration on specific capacity-building activities will be identified through national stocktaking exercises. The Network will also implement other specific capacity-building opportunities identified and deemed appropriate by member countries.
5. Database and information sharing
The national focal points will play a key role in facilitating the exchange of information on forest invasive species among Network members. Several mechanisms could be developed to facilitate information exchange including website development, newsletters and/or a regional forest invasive species listserver.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences has commenced work on developing a forest invasive species database, which will provide a system for collating, storing and readily accessing information gathered by the Network. The database will be further developed in collaboration with Network members, cognizant of cross-sectoral boundary issues.
The APFC pre-session workshop: Developing an action plan for addressing forest invasive species in Asia and Pacific recommends that APFC endorse these initial steps of an action plan for the Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network.