Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Introduction of alien species E 3.6


animals, plants and microorganisms as well as subspecies

and genetically modified organisms. The

strength of the Act lies in the control of the deliberate

and accidental introduction of new organisms as

well as in established instruments for the eradication

and control of undesirable organisms. In spite of the

exemplary nature of the existing Act, its implementation

is made difficult through the division of administrative

responsibilities amongst a large number of

ministries and the limited expertise of individual

enforcement bodies (Bosselmann, 1999; Fisahn and

Winter, 1999).

In the United Kingdom, after the Convention on

the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural

Habitats had been signed in 1979 it was implemented

as part of national law in 1981, in the form of the

Wildlife and Countryside Act. Although this legislation

is regarded as far-reaching in the European and

international sphere, in practice the Act is considered

to have little effect because there is no independent

body in the licensing procedure, the public still has an

underdeveloped awareness of the problems, there

are no fixed penalties and the source of an introduction

is identified only in rare cases (Purdy and

Macrory, 1998).

E 3.6.5

Conclusions for required research and action

• Create scientific databases on introductions.A generally

accessible database on alien species must be

created through coordination with the GISP,

which will centrally gather all information on this


• Develop methods for the eradication of undesired

introductions.The prerequisites and opportunities

for the environmentally sound eradication of

undesired alien species must be examined. These

species may include infectious diseases as well as

plants and animals with sufficiently long generation


• Improve prognostics on the possible effects of

introductions. Future research will have to show

the extent to which the successful establishment

and frequency of alien species in the country of

origin and other indicators, which have yet to be

identified, are generally sustainable. In the

process, the interactions between introduced

species must also be examined. Efforts will have to

be taken to use new techniques (eg remote sensing

and GIS) to discover alien species.

• Define relevant terms and incorporate into national

legislation. Clear definition and standardization of

the terms in connection with the introduction of

species at global level within the context of the

CBD by the COP (with the help, for example, of

GISP, FAO, IMO,WHO) with the aim of a uniform

use of these definitions in national laws. Harmonization

of the provisions in connection with the

introduction of natural species alien to the territory

and genetically modified species, since

numerous issues in the two cases are similar.

• Improve the scope for checking regulations on

intentional release. In many countries there is

already an obligation to obtain approval for the

introduction of alien organisms; deficits prevail in

many countries with regard to the scope for checking

existing regulations and the possible sanctions

for violations. The precautionary principle should

be the basis on which the release of alien species is

treated. Therefore, prior to any intentional

release, environmental impact assessments must

be carried out, as called for in SBSTTA-IV. These

provisions must also apply to releases in the context

of agriculture and forestry.

• Prevention and management of accidental introductions.

Those responsible for the accidental

introduction of alien species must be identified.

On the one hand, the people responsible for such

‘accidents’ should be made liable and on the other

hand, international and national authorities must

be selected to take responsibility for prevention

and for management in emergencies. Accidental

introduction should be prevented by border and

seed controls, logistical measures (governed by

the IPPC) such as shorter waiting times in container

transport (Simberloff et al, 1999), but also

awareness-raising in the population and important

target groups (tourists, hunters, fishermen,

aquarists, foresters, farmers, garden owners, etc).

An early warning system should be developed for

emergencies. Already today, analyses of introductions

in various areas can indicate similarities and

differences (eg Williamson and Fitter, 1996; Carlton,

1996) and can be employed for the purpose of

early warning and prevention.

• Introduction through shipping: continue to apply

IMO directive. The implementation of the IMO

Guidelines ‘on the minimization of the introduction

of undesired aquatic organisms and

pathogens in ships’ ballast water’ should be further

promoted at global level.

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