Day Five: Invasive species in Nagoya – really?

The Conference of Parties is nearing the end of the first week of multiple discussions and opinions about many issues relating to the conservation and management of biodiversity – and the valiant IUCN team is looking tired, but is still determined that this meeting in the Year of Biodiversity will be a success. IUCN is being consulted in many forums and people seem pleased that we are around.

Geoffrey Howard, Global Invasive Species Coordinator from IUCN’s East and Southern Africa office

Together with the Global Invasive Species Programme we have been pressing the issue of biological invasions as we talk to interested (and some not-very interested) folks, but when we meet formally on the subject there seems to be a more general appreciation of the problem than in the past. A side event on the double trouble that occurs when invasives and climate change get together to pose even greater threats was well received and the formal sessions seem as if most Parties to the Convention are aware and concerned and we hope that a press event of this morning will have some impact. But there seem to be much greater issues at stake with Access and Benefit Sharing, financing and agreement on details of the Strategic Plan of the Convention that are keeping many colleagues and friends active until late in the night.

We miss our colleague Arne with his (invasive) flower suit of previous events and Woody Weed is not around either – maybe that accounts for the low level of impact so far. And the grounds and streets and parks of Nagoya are pristine and free from weeds and other invasive plants so there is no backdrop of visible invasion to help the cause – which is to bring the threat of invasion to biodiversity to everyone who matters (which is absolutely everyone) at such an important meeting.

The venue of the conference is vast and many things are going on all the time. The organizers kindly gave us free passes for the subway, a fast and efficient means of moving to and fro. One slight set-back is the maize of exits from several stations – some in excess of 20. This is fine once you have been able to work out which one takes you home. Alas that took this participant quite a few attempts and many miles of walking to find the right one the first few times – which I’m sure was easy for those familiar with such bustling cities. But it is important for such a global convention to take us to many places to exchange views and to see other peoples’ daily travail as we prepare for the next decade of targets to ward off loss of biodiversity… including our ways of reducing the often unseen biological invasions.

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