Huge steps made as the Pacific islands region ramp up their fight against invasive species

7 December, CBD COP13, Cancun Mexico - Commitments to empower and support Pacific islands in their battle against invasive species were announced by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) at the UN Biodiversity Conference today. Invasive species are considered to be the main cause of biodiversity loss around the world.

A large number of species are found only in the Pacific and nowhere else with 2,189 single-country endemic species recorded to date. Of these species, 5.8 per cent are already extinct. A further 45 per cent are at risk of extinction. The Pacific islands face some of the highest extinction rates in the world. The largest cause of extinction of single-country endemic species in the Pacific is the impact of invasive species. Invasives also severely impact our economies, ability to trade, sustainable development, health, ecosystem services, and the resilience of our ecosystems to respond to natural disasters.

The Honolulu Challenge launched this year at the World Conservation Congress aims to protect biodiversity and human wellbeing by calling for greater action to address invasive species. Supporting the Challenge, the New Zealand Government has declared at the Thirteenth Conference on Biological Diversity (CBD COP13) they will completely eradicate invasive rats, stoats and possums by 2050.

With the assistance of SPREP and the Pacific Invasives Partnership, Pacific island countries and territories have embarked on many activities to manage invasive species. SPREP is committed to continuing this strong support through implementation of the regional "Guidelines for Invasive Species Management in the Pacific".

IMG 9443
Mr Stuart Chape presenting at the
"The Honolulu Challenge on Invasive Alien Species" 
event at the CBD COP13

"We aim to develop two multi-country projects with significant invasive species components which will be operational by the year 2020," said Mr Stuart Chape, the Director of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management Division of SPREP.

"We'll also continue work that we have undertaken as part of a GEF-PAS funded project, implemented from late 2011 until September 2016, to build capacity in invasive species management in the Pacific by improving regional information and knowledge management. This includes the expansion of our Pacific Invasive Species Battler Resource Base and Pacific Invasive Species Battler Series, completing the Pacific Invasive Species Priority Projects Database and maintaining the Guidelines Reporting Database to report to members and donors on national and regional progress in invasive species management."

The Invasive Species work undertaken by SPREP together with the island countries focuses on achieving Aichi Target 9: "by 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritised, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment."

Pacific island parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The CBD COP13 is held in Cancun, Mexico from 4 – 17 November, 2016.

To access your copy of Battling Invasive Species in the Pacific, outcomes of the regional GEFPAS IAS project please visit - https://www.sprep.org/attachments/Publications/BEM/battling-invasive-species-pacific.pdf
To access the Pacific Invasive Species Battler Resource Base please visit:
https://www.sprep.org/piln/resource-base
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