Global Invasive Species Programme, Cape Town conference, September 2000


An interim report on the proceedings, from Dr Nick Davidson, Ramsar Deputy Secretary General, 19 September 2000:

The GISP Phase 1 Synthesis Conference is now well under way and, through a series of workshops, examining in detail the various draft global scale products it will produce. These will be of considerable value and interest to Ramsar people, since there is much in these about wetland/aquatic invasives, which the meeting recognises as a particularly pressing and major issue. Launched today is "A Guide to Designing Legal and Institutional Frameworks on Alien Invasive Species" by Clare Shine, Nattley Williams and Lothar Gundling of IUCN's Environmental Law Centre. [For further information, see publication announcement.]

Workshops today have been evaluating GISP's "Toolkit for Best Prevention and Management Practices for Alien Invasive Species" which contains much important guidance for wetland (and other) managers and numerous case studies on wetland invasives. More workshops this afternoon are discussing the new and major development of the Invasive Species Database developed by Mick Clout and Sarah Lowe of IUCN-SSC's Invasive Species Specialist Group. This will eventually hold a wealth of clear and accessible information about each known invasive species - invaluable information about what might soon try to invade a wetland near you, how to recognise it when it does - and who might know what to do about it.

Tomorrow we will examine the "Global Strategy for Addressing the Problem of Invasive Alien Species", which is designed to provide a framework for action for all the different (and many) players concerned with invasives, and start consideration of the proposed GISP II programme, which will focus on local and regional implementation, training, knowledge and inforamtion exchange, and awareness on invasives.

This afternoon I will give a presentation about Ramsar and Invasives, which will highlight the high priority afforded by COP7 on invasive issues, the work of STRP on the topic and, following up STRP9's request to the Bureau, some suggested mechanisms for developing wetland-specific guidance on invasives for consideration by COP8, ways in which the GISP work and products can help contribute to this guidance, and possible future links between Ramsar and GISP, including ways in which the IUCN/Ramsar African Invasives project, soon to be initiated, could trial local and national delivery of GISP I materials.

During the week Ramsar has also been contributing (along with MAB, IMO, and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)) to CBD's Invasives Liaison Group, which is helping develop the approach and materials on invasives for CBD's next SBSTTA meeting (Montreal, March 2001) at which it is planned to devote a substantial amount of time focussing on a CBD work plan for invasives.

GISP materials should help point those trying to deal with a wetland invasive species problem at ways and means of how others have tackled similar problems. The joint Ramsar/World Heritage advisory mission to Senegal and Mauritania, at the same time as the GISP meeting, is helping to tackle just such a problem, concerning water hyacinth - highlighting the great significance to wetland management of invasive species.

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