Thursday, 13 May 2004

Asia-Pacific forest Invasive Species Network (APFISN)

The Asia Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) is one of the six commissions of the FAO established with the main objective of providing a forum for discussions at the regional level, facilitating the participation of not only of government policy makers but also of NGOs, local organisations and the private sector on all forestry issues including global policies, raising awareness on forestry issues and shaping of international policy discussions. Keeping in view the extreme and intensive invasion of plant and animal species in different countries of the region causing social, ecological & economic problems, the 19th session of APFC held at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia during August 2002, made recommendations for needs for greater information sharing and awareness building to increase understanding and co-operation in dealing with forest invasive species threats. To synthesize the major issues and constraints in combating invasive species, a regional conference was convened at Kunming, China on 17-22nd August 2003. The conference participants proposed for establishing an Asia-Pacific forest Invasive Species Network (APFISN) to promote the exchange of information on the existing or potential pests and approaches for combating menace of such pests. It was emphasised that the proposed network should give priority to developing an action plan for dealing with invasive species in the region.

2 Accordingly, the FAO requested the member countries to nominate focal points for co-ordinating the activities of the proposed network in their countries. Twenty-one out of the 27 member countries nominated their nodal points. The Research and Training Division of the MoEF has been designated as the nodal point for the network.

3 At the invitation of the Government of Fiji and in conjunction with the 20th session of the APFC, a pre-session workshop: "Developing an Action Plan for Addressing Forest Invasive Species in Asia and Pacific" was held at Nadi, Fiji on 17-18th April, 2004. During the workshop the following five highest priority areas have been identified for the action plan

4 The Asia Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network was formally launched by Assistant Director General, FAO, on 18th April 2004. The summary of proceedings of the workshop and draft action plan for the APFISN was presented before the 20th session of the APFC. The APFC appreciated the efforts being made by the member countries for addressing this issue and endorsed the action plan for the network.

5 The MoEF have initiated steps for preparing a draft format for report on stocktaking of national activities. The MoEF would shortly request the states/organisations information on the forest invasive species and expertise available in India for possible collaboration in the region for helping in prevention, detection, eradication and control of forest invasive species.