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Abstract

The issue of invasive alien species (IAS) has long been on the agenda of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) when the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) initially entered into force with the major purpose of preventing the introduction and spread of pests of plants and plant products. Today, invasive alien species (IAS) are considered under the broader umbrella of biosecurity and, for the IPPC Secretariat, interest in IAS is from the perspective of plant pests as species that may be invasive and that directly or indirectly affect plants or plant products and should be assessed, monitored and managed, if necessary, according to IPPC provisions. Several reports have indicated the threat of IAS as in the Caribbean region; recent plant pest invasives include the hibiscus mealybug, black Sigatoka disease and lethal yellowing of coconuts. FAO has recognised the disjointed and incomplete approach to the international policy and regulatory framework for biosecurity in food and agriculture and has suggested several regional and national actions to overcome the several shortcomings such as the development of common methodologies, particularly for risk-analysis, international standard-setting (including, where appropriate, environmental-related standards), and integrated management and monitoring. Further, it was recognised that broadly similar situations exist in national policy and regulatory frameworks where controls and national authority for biosecurity matters tend to be scattered over several ministries or departments. The limited resources of the several small island states in this Region militate against any individual effective action. However, collaborative and harmonized actions can certainly have an impact.

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