National Management Plan: An Action Plan for the Nation - International Cooperation

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[Executive Summary] | [Introduction] | [Survey of Federal Roles & Responsibilities] | [An Action Plan for the Nation] | [Conclusion] | [Appendices]

Action Plan:
Leadership | Prevention | Detection | Control | Restoration |
International | Research | Info Management | Education

The U.S. cannot succeed in addressing its domestic invasive species problems, unless it takes a leadership role in international cooperation and invests in strategies that raise the capacity of other nations to manage their invasive species problems. Our ability to prevent invasive species from entering the U.S. depends greatly upon the capability of other countries to effectively manage invasive species and invasion pathways domestically. Once invasive species become established within one country, they pose a threat to an entire region, as well as to trading partners and every country along a trading pathway. If an invasive species never leaves another country, it will never become a problem in the U.S..

The U.S. faces several challenges in preventing and controlling the spread of invasive species globally. Only a few countries (e.g., Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa) have invested in the development of well-coordinated policies and programs to address the problem. Developing countries that recognize the gravity of the situation and want to take immediate action are hampered by a lack of scientific, technological, and financial resources. Efforts of most governments to address invasive species problems are poorly coordinated. Neighboring countries are often unaware of each other's policies and practices.

Clearly, the U.S. needs to promote international consistency and adequate standards in policies to prevent and control the spread of invasive species. Governments and international organizations are using conventions, treaties, and other international agreements to raise awareness of the invasive species issue and take coordinated steps to establish prevention and control policies. These range from trade-related agreements that play a significant role in the regulation of invasion pathways to agreements focused on the protection of specific ecosystems (see Appendix 3). These efforts need to be strengthened and expanded. The U.S. also needs to encourage industry and other sectors to adopt codes of conduct, thus setting voluntary standards to help limit the spread of invasive species.

Actions by the U.S. have sometimes contributed to the invasive species problems faced by other countries. Despite good intentions, we have, on occasion, inadvertently facilitated the introduction of invasive species to other countries through development assistance programs, military operations, famine relief projects, and international financing. In meeting demands for U.S. products, we have exported organisms that are invasive here and have the potential to be invasive elsewhere. While traveling the world, U.S. tourists may accidentally relocate organisms in their luggage, on their bodies, and through their means of transport.

By openly sharing information and technologies and cooperating in international research, the U.S. can raise awareness of the causes and consequences of invasive species, increase the capacity of other governments to prevent and control invasive species, and lower the costs of invasive species management here and abroad. For many years, various agencies of the U.S. Government have assisted countries with scientific information on the invasive species that threaten their economies and human health. We have also provided technologies, such as biological control agents, that have helped countries eradicate or control invasive species. These efforts support the U.S.'s broader development assistance objectives of securing food, water, and human health through economic growth and environmental protection.

International Agreements

Actions Planned

  1. The Council will strengthen and expand U.S. participation in the development and application of mutually supportive standards and codes of conduct within international fora:

a. By December 2001, the Council will develop a strategy and support materials for U.S. representatives to use in international meetings to encourage and assist all countries with development of coordinated policies and programs on invasive species, both domestically and internationally.

b. By June 2002, the Council, in cooperation with other relevant bodies, will identify the limitations and strengths of existing international agreements to adequately prevent and control the spread of invasive species and develop a program of work with other governments and international organizations to improve the effectiveness of these agreements.

  1. By December 2001, the Council will outline an approach to a North American invasive species strategy, to be built upon existing tripartite agreements and regional organizations, and initiate discussions with Canada and Mexico for further development and adoption.

  2. By December 2001, the Council co-chair agencies and State, in conjunction with USTR, will establish an ongoing process to consider the risks of invasive species during the development of U.S. trade agreements and ensure that U.S. trade agreements facilitate a country's abilities to prevent the movement of invasive species in a manner that is transparent, non-discriminating, and based on sound science.

International Assistance

Actions Planned

  1. By February 2001, USDA, in cooperation with USAID, will sponsor three technical assistance seminars in eastern, western, and southern Africa. These events will highlight exchange of technical information, including material about invasive species.

  2. Starting in January 2001, Council member agencies will provide financial and technical support to international meetings of policy makers, as well as regional and global programs of cooperation, that are working to establish and implement mechanisms to limit the spread of invasive species.

  3. By December 2001, the Council and the U.S. AID will initiate a study, with GISP and international development and finance institutions, of international assistance as an invasion pathway, as well as options for minimizing the impact of this pathway.

Note: Each section of the Action Plan contains additional "Actions Planned" regarding International Coordination.

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