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Will Europe at last unite to combat thousands of alien invaders?
Date:4/3/2009

in too many different European Institutions. These are organisations such as the European Environment Agency (EEA), European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that rarely communicate with each other and where the topic of invasions is only one of many areas of activity" says Philip Hulme lead author of the paper.

"This system is not effective. For example EPPO and EFSA have not seen eye to eye when it comes to assessing the risks to Europe of different alien species, while funding for research and management is often prioritised separately by the different Directorates-General in Brussels. The political, cultural and geographic complexity of Europe makes a single coordinating body a necessity"

The authors of the paper, who recently edited the Handbook of Alien Species in Europe2, recommend the European Parliament and Council give serious consideration to the establishment of a single body to bring together invasive species related resources and activities currently dispersed amongst the various European institutions. This body, which they call the European Centre for Invasive Species Management (ECISM), would have a mission to identify, assess and communicate current and emerging threats to the economy and environment posed by invasive species. ECISM would coordinate activities across Member States, building a Europe-wide surveillance system which could monitor emerging threats, support rapid response and raise public awareness around the issues of invasive species.

The idea is sound, but such a Centre would face considerable challenges. For example, the major policy driver of a single EU market for goods and people favours the spread of invasive species, the number of alien species introductions continues to increase year on year, and public awareness of the impact of those species is little more than 2%.

Unfortunately, these factors make the formation of such a body all the more
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
press@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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