Target 5 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy states that
By 2020, Invasive Alien Species and their pathways are identified and prioritised, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and pathways are managed to prevent the introduction and establishment of new IAS.
Summary of EU progress on reaching Target 5 on invasive alien species:
EU legislation to tackle the issue of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) is urgently needed. Despite support from the European Council and European Parliament for legislation, the European Commission has yet to publish any legislative proposals, although a stakeholder consultation process has been set up to support the drafting process. Meanwhile the damage caused by IAS in the EU currently is estimated to cost at least 12 000 million EUR annually, and their impacts are increasing.
Positive developments towards Target 5:
- The European Commission has been working on legislative proposals since 2008, and has convened stakeholder consultation groups to advice on tackling the issue at EU level, but no proposals have yet been published, and some sectors are opposed to restrictions on the release of non-native species into the wild.
- The EU already has comprehensive and strict plant and animal health legislation in place, which addresses those invasive species that constitute a threat to human health and to commercial animal and plant species. This legislation does not tackle the impacts of IAS on biodiversity.
- A significant number of EU Member States already have national measures in place, but approaches vary enormously between EU Member States, and there is little or no harmonisation or consistency between neighbouring countries. There is a similar lack of co-ordination between the EU and both its immediate neighbours and trading partners. Cooperation on Ruddy duck eradication
- The EU has supported a project to compile a Database of Alien Invasive Species in Europe (DAISIE) which is intended to support delivery of an EU strategy on invasive species and any legislation.
Delays and missed opportunities towards Target 5:
- Other environmental pressures, in particular climate change, increased deposition of nitrogen, changes in land management, and the destruction of natural habitats, make it yet more likely that new invasive alien species will be able to establish.
Counterproductive developments towards Target 5:
- The number of Invasive Alien Species in the EU is growing daily, as are their economic and ecological impacts. Tackling IAS requires EU and global efforts. EC budget proposal 2014-2020 largely ignores global biodiversity funding.
- The European Commission is resistant to spend LIFE funds on projects in the Overseas Countries and Territories, where the impacts of IAS are particularly significant.
Milestones – what needs to be achieved by 2014:
- EU strategy on Invasive Alien Species is published and includes comprehensive legislative proposals based on the three-stage hierarchical approach in line with the guiding principles of the CBD: Prevention, Early warning and rapid eradication, Long-term control and containment.
- Financial resources are available to enable EU Member States to deliver management measures when needed. This includes a central EU emergency fund for rapid response to new invasive alien species; Compensation when mandatory control action is required, following the animal health model; EU LIFE funding and a replenished BEST scheme for work to alleviate the impacts of Invasive Alien Species in the EU and in the EU’s Overseas Countries and Territories. Tropical biodiversity of the EU