Policy developments on invasive alien species

Presentation by Ioli Christopoulou at the 5th regional stakeholder meeting of the INVALIS project, which was dedicated to the implementation of the EU Invasive Alien Species institutional framework.

With her introductory presentation at the meeting, Ioli Christopoulou informed participants about global and European developments surrounding invasive alien species. She referred to the recent assessments of the implementation of the Aichi 2020 Biodiversity Targets, which show that progress regarding Target 9, which is dedicated to invasive alien species, is only partial. This progress mainly concerns species identification and the gradual development of a relevant institutional frameworks by many states.

At the European level, actions relating to invasive alien species envisaged in the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy were implemented, even though with some delay, noting the current EU-wide consultation to assess progress. Nonetheless, the new EU 2030 Strategy emphasizes the need to strengthen the implementation particularly of EU Regulation 1143/2014, aimed to reduce by 50% the number of Red List species threatened by invasive alien species.

The presentation concluded with the connection of these developments to Greece’s national policy. Although to date, as the Green Tank report “Priority to Nature” has shown, progress at the national level is minimal, the formulation of the new five-year Biodiversity Action Plan is an opportunity to renew Greece’s commitments. In this direction, the active engagement of various actors around the issue of invasive alien species is encouraging as recorded in previous meetings of INVALIS. In the same vain, the announcement of the draft ministerial decision on the implementation of the EU Regulation on invasive alien species and the launch of several projects that will enrich the institutional framework in the near future are encouraging signs of progress, that have taken place recently.

During the online meeting, Ioannis Mitsopoulos, new General Manager of the Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency, which is the coordinating the project, offered welcome remarks; Orfeas Roussos, Project Manager of INVALIS, presented the institutional frameworks in other countries and Charis Nikokavouras from the Directorate of Natural Environment and Biodiversity of the Ministry of Environment and Energy presented the national institutional framework on invasive alien species and specifically the provisions of the joint ministerial decision under consultation. The meeting took place on 31 March 2021.

The Green Tank has been participating consistently in the INVALIS regional meetings, which have served as an important network opportunity across stakeholders involved with invasive alien species.