Regional Experts meet to discuss establishment of Melanesian Biosecurity and Invasive Species Group

Discussions on the development of the Melanesian Biosecurity and Invasive Species Group for the long-term management of invasive alien species and biosecurity took place at a two-day workshop held in Port Vila, Vanuatu this month.

The workshop was hosted by the Government of Vanuatu through the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

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Presenting group work back to the workshop

National and regional experts from the Melanesian countries were invited to discuss and agree on a roadmap for the establishment of the group, which will be the first of its kind in Melanesia.

The group will provide sound and timely advice to Melanesian countries on biosecurity and invasive species related matters which will facilitate efforts to combat negative impacts to the environment, economy and community.

It will be a platform for members and expertise to deliberate on biosecurity and invasive species in respective countries and collectively in the wider sub-region of Melanesia. It will also provide the opportunity to set up key sub-regional initiatives that could include a Melanesia Regional Biosecurity Plan and a Melanesian Emergency Response Plan.

"The purpose of this workshop was to come up with a road map to address invasive species issues in Melanesia, linkages are already strong through MSG agreements and we should address invasive species issues within the framework of these agreements" said Mr Jason Raubani, Director of the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation.

"We achieved this and now have ideas, a plan and a road map for the group to collaborate and address invasive species issues in Melanesia"

The Melanesia Group models a successful initiative by the leaders of Micronesia where they established a regional invasive species council from the nine jurisdictions in the region. The Micronesia council contributed strongly to the development of a regional biosecurity plan, which provides a template for other countries and regions to follow.

Held on 21 – 22 September, 2016 the workshop was an activity under the GEF PAS project "Prevention, eradication and control of invasive alien species in the Pacific islands", funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and executed by Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation, Government of Vanuatu.
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