Proceedings of the Regional Seminar-Workshop on Harmonizing Methods in Risk Assesment and Management of Forest Invasive Alien Plant Species in Southeast Asia
Invasion of alien species is not new in Southeast Asia and elsewehere in the world considering that it occurs across national borders and regions brought about by trade and travel activities. The concern for invasive alien species (IAS) in the recent years, however, has become more imminent due to the greater volume and the faster rate at which they are spreading, and the alarming impacts they have created to naturan ecosystems, economy, and human health. In fact in 2011, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) included reduction of threats from IAS as among the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The CBD hopes that by 2020, IAS and their pathways are identified and prioritized, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment. Such target presents a big challenge to Southeast Asia as the region expects to achieve economic integration under the ASEAN Economic Community starting in 2015 which will allow for an open market system resulting in more frequent export and transportation of biological products. Effective implementation of pre- and post-border control measures in line with international standards is thus crucial in this situation to reduce the introduction of potentian IAS. This also calls for increased collaborative efforts among countries in the region.
With this background, the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Tropical Biology (BIOTROP) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) co-organized a Regional Seminar-Workshop on Harmonizing Approaches to Risk Assesment and Management of Forest Invasive Alien Plant Species in Southeast Asia in Bogor, Indonesia on 2-5 December 2014. The seminar-workshop was attended by 28 participants from Bhutan, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam, and eight resource persons and facilitators from international, regional, and national institutions based in Canada, Italy, Australia, japan, and Indonesia to discuss and come up with recommendations on the subject matter. The seminar-workshop focused on forest invasive plant species considering that Southeast Asia's forests are becoming very susceptible to plant invasions due to various human disturbances. The event could be considered as timely effort to articulate the need for countries in the region to work harmoniously, in support of the ASEAN Economic Community, to effectively asses and manage the risks of forest invasive alien plant species.