Millions of the world’s most vulnerable people face problems with invasive weeds, insects and plant diseases , which are out of control and have a major impact on global prosperity, communities and the environment. Developing countries are disproportionately affected. The global cost of the world’s 1.2 million invasive species is estimated at $1.4 trillion per year – close to 5 percent of global gross domestic product. In East Africa, five major invasive species alone cause $1 billion in economic losses to smallholder farmers each year.
In response, CABI is today launching a unique, global programme with the aim to protect and improve the livelihoods of 50 million poor rural households impacted by invasive species. The DFID and DGIS funded Action on Invasives programme will champion an environmentally sustainable, cross-sectoral and regional approach to dealing with invasive species.
The programme will bring together CABI’s 100-year track record in invasive species management, strengthening of plant health systems and delivery of practical and authoritative knowledge and solutions into the hands of everyone affected – from farmers to policy-makers. The ultimate goal is to enable developing countries to prevent, detect and control invasive species in order to protect and restore agricultural and natural ecosystems, reduce crop losses, improve health, remove trade barriers and reduce degradation of natural resources, infrastructure and vulnerable areas.
Programme Executive Dr Roger Day says: “In human health, the global community has a strong track record of responding both to historical challenges such as polio, as well as acute outbreaks such as the Zika virus. However, in plant health the record is not so strong. Working together with stakeholders and partners across the world, our aim is to empower developing countries to take action and address the wide-ranging threat of invasive species.”
With support and funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Netherland’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS), the programme has been piloted in Ghana and Pakistan on specific species and is now being scaled up so people around the world are not short-changed on opportunities to fulfil their true potential and help their countries prosper. CABI and its partners are therefore seeking a $50m investment to coordinate the programme and implement a multinational invasive species framework.
Dr Roger Day says: “We believe the Action on Invasives programme will contribute to improving people’s livelihoods and food security, as well as countries’ trade opportunities and commitment to environmental protection. This in turn will support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Plant Protection Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity. CABI is asking the global community to commit to reducing the impact of invasive species and I invite everyone to support the Action on Invasives programme in any way they can.”
To find out more about CABI’s new Action on Invasives programme please visit our website→