Statement by Ramsar's STRP to CBD's Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice


leaf.gif (1974 bytes)CBD SBSTTA6 Montreal, March 2001

Case Study: invasive alien species, Multilateral Environmental Agreements and site management

  Presenter: Dr Nick Davidson
Deputy Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

on behalf of World Heritage Convention, Man and the Biosphere Programme, Convention on Migratory Species, and the Ramsar Convention

Parties to conventions and agreements requiring site-based action face particular challenges in dealing with invasive alien species. Globally these are notably the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, World Heritage Convention, UNESCO’s  Man and the Biosphere Programme and the Convention on Migratory Species and its range state Agreements,

 The ecological character of many designated sites is being compromised by invasives, so managing these biodiversity ‘jewels in the crown’ in the context of the impacts of invasives is a high priority for us.  A major challenge in achieving this is, however, to provide protected area managers with the best possible knowledge, tools and access to expert assistance so that they can recognize and address invasives in their management planning and implementation, and be helped in raising awareness of invasives amongst their local community stakeholders. 

To achieve this requires particularly:

  • better understanding of invasive issues;
  • improved invasives identification knowledge;
  • more consistent inclusion of invasives and the threats from them in site descriptions when listing/designation of sites, leading to;
  • enhanced incorporation of monitoring for invasives in management planning objectives;
  • improved vulnerability and early warning assessment tools, especially in relation to changing vulnerability through climate change effects; and
  • better access to, and sharing of, experience and expert advice on management options and control and eradication.

The GISP, and the CBD work we are developing here, is producing a wealth of relevant materials. Now the task of the site-based agreements is to get this into the hands of their site managers - in a form they can use.

So how are the agreements and conventions tackling this?  First through all affording increased recognition to invasives.   Second, by working together increasingly, particularly where sites are designated in delivery of commitments to more than one instrument.

Amongst the joint invasives initiatives underway through the site-related instruments, I will highlight four:

First, development of Joint management and monitoring guidance.   Ramsar and Man and the Biosphere Programme are both currently preparing further guidance to their site managers on good practice in management planning and monitoring, including a focus on invasives.  The guidance will be harmonized and made available to manager networks, under both instruments and  tested and promoted through demonstration implementation on sites designated under both instruments.

Second, increasing management expertise and capacity at an inter-regional scale.  The CMS African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement is, in collaboration with the Ramsar Convention, developing a UNEP-GEF funded project to demonstrate good practice management, incorporating invasive species management, for a network of key wetlands (Ramsar sites) for migratory waterbirds in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, and through this to build site management capacity and transfer of experience at a flyway-scale.

Third, Site manager awareness and networks.  Ramsar, working with its partner organizations IUCN and Wetlands International, has started implementation work on African wetland invasives to produce accessible wetland invasive awareness materials for site managers, and increase invasives management capacity through regional managers’ workshops and establishing networks for exchange of experience.  This will bring together managers of Ramsar sites, Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites in the region.

Fourth, Joint action in specific shared protected areas to provide expertise and advice on managing invasives problems.  The World Heritage and Ramsar Conventions have recently mounted a joint advisory mission to assist Senegal in developing management for the control of an urgent aquatic invasive problem, here from the water fern Salvinia, in the Djoudj National Park, Senegal.  This site has been listed as both a Heritage Site in Danger and on the Ramsar Convention’s Montreux Record.  The mission brought together a wide range of  local, national and international stakeholders.  Their recommendations have now led to the two Conventions funding work to develop a comprehensive management planning, implementation and monitoring process for the site that will incorporate invasives control through enhanced local capacity and local community involvement.  Furthermore this has brought in technical expertise through the GISP, and is being developed in collaboration also with broader-scale European Commission funded work on invasives management in the Senegal river basin, and with the CMS African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement, since this site is internationally important for its migratory waterbirds, as the distinguished delegate from Senegal reported to us yesterday.

It is our further intention to bring together the outcomes and experiences of this suite of joint site-management related work, and other related activity, to promote consistent and enhanced management response to invasive alien species throughout our extensive combined network of key protected areas for biodiversity.  All these initiatives will draw importantly on the tools and guidance tools and guidance prepared by GISP and CBD.

To aid on the ground delivery of effective action, we consider it vital that the options for future invasives work through priorities under the planned GISP2 and any future CBD focus on invasives includes enhancing information transfer and implementation at the local manager and community stakeholder level, as well as effective collaboration between the site-based environmental agreements. 

We stand ready to contribute to, and work together with CBD Parties, on this key part of the fight to reduce the global impact of invasive alien species on biodiversity.

Thank you very much.

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