An Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Canada
A Strategy in the Making
Invasive alien species are a global issue affecting every country and the majority of the earth’s ecosystems. It is estimated that the annual world wide cost of invasive species is well into the billions. Canada like many other countries has had a long history of activities associated with combating invasive alien species impacts.
In December of 1992, Canada was the first industrialized country to ratify the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity developed at the RIO Earth Summit earlier that year. Under Article 8(h) of the Convention on Biological Diversity, all signatories are required to “prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species”. It also called on signatory countries to develop a national biodiversity strategy which was released in Canada in 1995.
Under the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy, there is a strong recognition that Canadian ecosystems and habitats have been degraded by the establishment of alien species. In addition the strategy calls for the development and implementation of measures such as policies, plans, legislation and programs to prevent alien and living modified organisms from adversely affecting biodiversity.
To address Canada’s commitments to both the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy, the Joint Council meeting of federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers of Forests, and Fisheries and Aquaculture met in September of 2001. The Council called for the development of a blueprint for a national plan on invasive species. In 2002, these Ministers approved the blueprint which called for the development of a national strategy; An Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Canada was subsequently developed and approved by federal, provincial and territorial resource ministers in September 2004.
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