Protected areas (PAs) play a critical role in biodiversity conservation, are ´nature´s solutions´ to climate change and are vital to community health and wellbeing. Effective management is increasingly essential to allow PAs to play this role in the face of escalating challenges – climate change, increasing resource demands, and the impacts of invasive alien species, that can be exacerbated by the effects of climate change.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), at the 10th Convention of Parties of 2010, highlighted that the spread and impact of invasive alien species requires greater attention in the management of PAs, and has invited parties to consider alien species management as a cost effective tool for the restoration of PAs and the ecosystem services they provide (decision X/31 on "Protected areas"). The role of PAs is crucial for meeting the Aichi Target 9 of the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 "By 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritized, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment".
Principles of invasive alien species management need to be integrated into Protected Area management. The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the IUCN SSC plans to launch, in cooperation with WCPA and other partners, a partnership to develop a global strategy and guidelines for the management of invasive alien species in PAs including World Heritage Sites. The ISSG with the Council of Europe is currently involved in the development of ´European Guidelines on Protected Areas and Invasive Alien Species´ that could serve as a pilot phase.
Preliminary discussions will be held on the development of the guidelines and its scope; and on establishing and launching a partnership.