Editorial: Luc Bas

 Dear Members, Dear Readers,

Luc Bas

As the second largest cause for biodiversity loss worldwide, biological invasions are a major concern which requires an urgent, effective and coordinated response. Invasive Alien Species (IAS) can reduce biodiversity, and affect our health and economy. In Europe alone, more than 1,500 species are reported to cause damage.

Preventing invasions is certainly the best way to stop the negative impacts of these species, however there is also need to tackle existing invasions. The recent proposal by the European Commission for a Regulation to combat IAS is a first step towards coordinating action at EU level and recognizing the cross-boundary nature of the problem.

Growing international trade and mobility are among the main causes for the spread of alien species which at times can lead to real invasions. This spread can be exacerbated by the effects of climate change. Transboundary action is thus essential to stop present and future spread of these species.

IUCN has a large network of experts who study, monitor and produce up to date knowledge on IAS in Europe and worldwide. Our vast expertise helps policy-makers to take better informed decisions. It is essential that policies are based on the latest scientific information to ensure that they are effective and adequate.

Combating IAS requires the engagement and contribution of multiple actors, from border control authorities and administrators to businesses and consumers. Cities can play an important role, as highlighted during a conference IUCN recently organized. Urban areas are identified as main sources for newly introduced species. Prevention and awareness-raising in cities can contribute enormously to solving the problem of IAS. 

The need for stakeholder engagement and an integrated policy approach are also key to conserve nature. This was the theme of the recent conference of the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development at the European Parliament under the theme “Meeting the EU 2020 Biodiversity Targets: Mainstreaming Conservation”. More than 150 people from institutions, governments, civil society and business discussed how different actors can, and indeed need to, contribute to the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.

The value of nature for our economy, and in particular businesses, is the focus of the upcoming World Natural Capital Forum, organized by IUCN and partners. The event will bring together business leaders to present the solutions nature can offer to solve real-life business challenges.

Enjoy your reading,

Luc Bas
Director, EU Representative Office

>> Read European Newsletter - October 2013

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