Invasive alien species (IAS) are some of the greatest threats to biodiversity loss, and are among the most significant drivers of environmental degradation and change worldwide. IAS reduce crop yields, choke irrigation canals, block hydroelectric dams and reduce the lifespan of development investments. They contribute to social instability and economic hardship, placing constraints on sustainable development, economic growth, poverty alleviation, food security and biodiversity conservation.
The Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) is a partnership, founded in 1997, with a mission to conserve biodiversity and sustain human livelihoods by minimizing the spread and impact of IAS. In its first phase, GISP undertook focused assessments of the global invasive species problem and developed guides and toolkits for policy, regulation, prevention and management. GISP's work led to adoption by the Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity of a work program on IAS.
A second, expanded phase of work (Phase II) is now underway to engage and inform governments and to stimulate action and cooperation nationally, between governments and different sectors (e.g. environment and agriculture) to address IAS threats. The key outcome from this phase will be the establishment of an International Secretariat to coordinate and service an expanding global "Partnership Network" to inform IAS policy at national and international levels, working closely with international conventions. In addition to secretariat-led activities, the GISP secretariat is linked to international GISP Working Groups which will support development of best practices and capacity at the national and regional level.
The World Bank is a key supporter of the GISP Secretariat, and focuses its efforts on providing support for:
- Staffing and operational costs for the international Secretariat, to coordinate GISP activities globally to build national and international capacity to address IAS issues.
- Case studies on the economic benefits of invasive weeds management including water security, land productivity, biodiversity conservation, employment opportunities and secondary industries.
- Development and dissemination of best practices for prevention and management of IAS and IAS pathways, IAS policy and legislation, and information management, through capacity building workshops and training for developing countries.