Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP)
A project of DIVERSITAS aiming at preventing and managing invasive species
The spread of invasive alien species (IAS) - non-native organisms that cause, or have the potential to cause, harm to the environment, economies, or human health - is creating complex and far-reaching challenges that threaten both the natural biological richness of the earth and the well-being of our people.
Globalisation of trade, travel, and transport, is greatly increasing the number and diversity of harmful organisms being moved around the world, as well as the rate at which they are moving. At the same time, human-driven changes in land use and climate are rendering some habitats more susceptible to invasion. While the problem is global, the nature and severity of the impacts on society, economic life, health, and natural heritage are distributed unevenly across nations and regions.
IAS are thus a growing problem that will have to be managed in perpetuity.
The mission of the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) is to conserve biodiversity and sustain human livelihoods by minimizing the spread and impact of invasive alien species.
GISP was established in 1997 as an international non-for-profit partnership dedicated to tackling the global threat of invasive species, whose impacts cost at least US$ 1.4 trillion annually. Established in response to the first international meeting on invasive species held in Trondheim in 1996, GISP aimed at providing policy support to international agreements of relevance to invasive species, specifically Article 8(h) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and to raise awareness of the threats posed by invasive species globally. The main goal of GISP was that by 2020, a majority of countries would have the necessary policies in place to implement their national bio-security strategies and action plans.
2010 was United Nations declared International Year of Biodiversity and with invasive species constituting the 2nd biggest threat to biodiversity, it was a critically important year for GISP, both in terms of its visibility and impact, as well as the longer term survival of the programme. Sadly, despite its accomplishments, in the aftermath of the global economic recession, GISP was unable to attract adequate investment from donors or partners and towards the end of 2010, the decision to close the GISP Secretariat was taken, while the GISP Partnership has effectively entered a dormant phase.
As a component of the DIVERSITAS' research projects portfolio for 13 years, the relationship between GISP and DIVERSITAS evolved towards a strong partnership focusing on science-policy activities in 2009. DIVERSITAS recognises the great achievements of GISP both in terms of advancing the science of invasive species and bringing issues related to invasive species at the forefront of policy decisions.
GISP Phase I (1997-2005): Global strategy on invasive alien species
The Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) was founded in 1997 as a small, mainly voluntary partnership programme, by three international organizations: IUCN - The World Conservation Union, CAB International (CABI), and the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), and was a component of DIVERSITAS. The GISP Secretariat was established in 2003 in Cape Town, South Africa, to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of the Global Strategy on Invasive Alien Species (McNeely et al. 2011).
Start-up funding to meet core costs was provided by The World Bank through the Bank-Nederlands Partnership Programme and Development Grant Facility, allowing the employment of a small team of professionals and the delivery of several priority projects.
GISP's goals were to address the global threats caused by invasive alien species and to provide support to the implementation of Article 8(h) of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
During this first phase, GISP aimed at:
- Improving the scientific basis for decision-making on invasive species;
- Developing capacities to employ early warning and rapid assessment and response systems;
- Enhancing the ability to manage invasive species;
- Reducing the economic impacts of invasive species and control methods;
- Developing better risk assessment methods;
- Strengthening international agreements.
From 2001-2004, a series of regional workshops were held in collaboration with host governments in Southern Africa, Nordic Baltic, Australia/Pacific, Central America, South East Asia, Western Africa and South America. The workshops provided a forum for scientific experts and government representatives to:
- Raise awareness of IAS issue among policy makers within a region;
- Facilitate regional communication and promote regional cooperation (scientific policy, education, etc.);
- Lay foundations for the development of regional IAS strategies;
- Encourage regions to apply their resources globally.
In early 2005, GISP was constituted as a legal entity with Founding Members including IUCN, CAB International (CABI), The Nature Conservancy, and the South African National Biodiversity Institute. It comprises an Executive Board, a Technical Advisory Committee, and a Secretariat (Cape Town, South Africa; then Nairobi, Kenya).
GISP Strategic Plan 2006-2010 emphasized as its main goals the promotion of global cooperation in invasive species prevention and management, and its mandate under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It highlighted the specific interest in fostering cross-sectoral collaboration between relevant international instruments and organizations. GISP achieved its goals through cooperation amongst its Member Organizations, as well as a wide range of partners across the globe, and through the voluntary contribution from a substantial group of scientists, lawyers, and managers from all parts of the world.
GISP activities during its second phase were organized around three major themes:
- Assess the invasive alien species problem: to prevent the international spread of invasive species by improving the scientific basis for decision-making to enhance the ability to manage invasive species, which included
- The study of the ecology of invasive alien species, and the movement of species; and
- The development of new codes of conduct for the movement of species, and new tools for quantifying the impact of invasive species.
- How invasive alien species affect major economic sectors: minimizing the impact of established IAS on natural ecosystems and human livelihood by:
- Examining legal and institutional frameworks for controlling invasive species;
- Reducing the economic impacts of invasive species; and
- Reducing the economic impacts of control methods.
- Management and policy responses to the problem of invasive alien species: creating a supportive environment for improved IAS management to enhance the ability to manage invasive species worldwide through:
- Developing capacities to employ early warning and rapid assessment and response systems;
- Developing better risk assessment methods; and
- Strengthening international agreements.
The following five key elements provided the focus for Phase II activities:
- Global information management for IAS to provide information on scientific, technical and other aspects of IAS and support scientific and technical co-operation on IAS issues;
- Directed action at key pathways of IAS introduction through public/private sector co-operation focused on key sectoral pathways of introduction;
- Promotion of assessment and evaluation on critical IAS issues that will translate into the development and communication of research products that limit the spread and consequences of IAS;
- National and regional capacity building to improve national capacity to prevent and manage IAS problems, and support regional, capacity-sharing initiatives; and
- Supporting co-operation and co-ordination between international organisations involved in IAS.
The IAS Partnership Network as an example of a successful GISP project
From 1999, GISP developed a network of IAS Partnership, which set up a series of regional workshops to assess invasive alien species challenges and opportunities for regional collaboration. The outcome of the workshops held in East Africa, Baltic/Nordic region, Mesoamerica and the Caribbean, Southern Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Austral-Pacific region, West African region, South America, Western Indian Ocean Island states are published.
From 2006-2010, this project developed multi-disciplinary collaboration (between ecologists, bio-physicians, sociologists, economists, stakeholders and political institutions) to establish effective governance and protection of freshwater biodiversity for the long term, thereby benefiting human societies.
Examples of services provided by the GISP Partnership Network include:
- Raising awareness of the Invasive Alien Species (IAS) problem and potential solutions through relevant organizations and frameworks at national and international levels;
- Creating linkages among governments, between governments and the private sector, and across disciplines;
- Networking databases and providing a gateway for information on IAS issues and expertise;
- Designing and co-hosting workshops on strategic planning, priority setting, and the development of new and better tools to address the problem;
- Summarizing scientific and technical information in order to make it readily available to policy makers, scientists, educators, and other audiences;
- Supporting Partners in the design of projects and programmes to minimize the spread and impact of IAS.
GISP worked with international organizations to prevent the isolated, sector-focused approaches to the IAS issue that can lead to duplicative efforts and ineffective policies. For example, the GISP Partnership Network enabled governments, environmental groups, and trade industries to work together and engage in positive, constructive dialogue.
GISP in particular developed concrete links with policy fora (CBD, Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), UNEP, CSIRO).
GISP Scientific Publications
McGeoch MA, Butchart SHM, Spear D, Marais E, Kleynhans EJ, Symes A, Chanson J and Hoffmann M. 2010. Global indicators of biological invasion: species numbers, biodiversity impact and policy responses. Diversity and Distributions. 16(1):95-108
Simons SA and De Poorter M. 2009. Best practices in pre-import risk screening for species of live animals in international trade: Proceedings of an Expert Workshop on Preventing Biological Invasions: Best Practices in Pre-Import Risk Screening for Species of Live Animals in International Trade, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA, 9-11 April 2008. Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP). Nairobi, Kenya. 30p.
Walpole M, Almond REA, Besancon C, Butchart SHM, Campbell-Lendrum D, Carr GM, Collen B, Collette L, Davidson NC, Dulloo E, Fazel AM, Galloway JN, Gill M, Goverse T, Hockings M, Leaman DJ, Morgan DHW, Revenga C, Rickwood CJ, Schutyser F, Simons S, Stattersfield AJ, Tyrrell TD, Vie JC and Zimsky M. 2009. Tracking Progress Toward the 2010 Biodiversity Target and Beyond. Science. 325(5947):1503-1504
Emerton L and Howard G. 2008. A Toolkit for the Economic Analysis of Invasive Species. Global Invasive Species Programme. Nairobi, Kenya. 110p.
Howard GW and Ziller S. 2008. Alien alert – plants for biofuel may be invasive. Bioenergy Business. 14-16
Jackson L. 2008. Marine Biofouling: An Assessment of the Risks and Management Initiatives. Global Invasive Species Programme and the UNEP Regional Seas Programme. 68p.
McGeoch MA, Spear D and Marais E. 2008. Report on the Status of Alien Species Invasion and Trends in Invasive Species Policy. Global Invasive Species Programme. Nairobi, Kenya. 100p.
McGeoch MA, Spear D and Marais E. 2008. Report on Conventions and Other Headline Indicators. Global Invasive Species Programme. Nairobi, Kenya. 6p.
Sankaran KV. 2008. Blue Gum Chalcid. APFISN - the Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network. 2p.
Shine C. 2008. A Toolkit for Developing Legal and Institutional Frameworks for Invasive Alien Species. Global Invasive Species Programme. Nairobi, Kenya. 120p.
Simons AM and Howard GW. 2008. Summary Minutes of the GISP Expert Working Group Meeting on Development of Indicators for Invasive Alien Species. The Park Inn. London, UK. 11p.
Simons SA. 2008. Development of an Invasive Species Indicator for assessing progress towards the 2010 Biodiversity Target - Background Document. Global Invasive Species Programme. Nairobi, Kenya. 3p.
Smith RD, Aradottir GI, Taylor A and Lyal CHC. 2008. Invasive species management – what taxonomic support is needed? The Global Invasive Species Programme. Nairobi, Kenya. 52p.
De Poorter M. 2007. Invasive Alien Species and Protected areas: A Scoping Report Part I. Scoping the scale and nature of invasive alien species threats to protected areas, impediments to IAS management and means to address those impediments. Produced for the World Bank as a contribution to the Global Invasive Species Programme
De Poorter M. 2007. Invasive Alien Species and Protected areas: A Scoping Report Part II. Suggestions for an IUCN approach to addressing present and future threats from invasive alien species in protected areas. the World Bank as a contribution to the Global Invasive Species Programme
GISP. 2007. Development of case studies on the economic impacts of invasive species in Africa: Mimosa pigra. 104p.
GISP. 2007. Development of case studies on the economic impacts of invasive species in Africa Salvinia molesta 100p.
GISP. 2007. Implementing the Global Strategy on Invasive Species Annual Narrative Report. The Global Invasive Species Programme. 18p.
Reaser JK, Meyerson LA, Cronk Q, De Poorter M, Eldrege LG, Green E, Kairo M, Latas P, Mack RN, Mauremootoo J, O’Dowd D, Orapa W, Sastroutomo S, Saunders A, Shine C, Thrainsson S and Vaiutu L. 2007. Ecological and socioeconomic impacts of invasive alien species in island ecosystems. Foundation for Environmental Conservation. 32(2):98-111
Wise RM, van Wilgen BW, Hill MP, Schulthess F, Tweddle D, Chabi-Olay A and Zimmermann HG. 2007. The Economic Impact and Appropriate Management of Selected Invasive Alien Species on the African Continent. Global Invasive Species Programme. CSIR/NRE/RBSD/ER/2007/0044/C.
Hartemink AE. 2006. Invasion of Piper Aduncum in the Shifting cultivation system of Papua New Guinea. ISRIC – World Soil Information. the Netherlands. 249p.
Hewitt CL, Campbell ML and Gollasch S. 2006. Alien species in aquiculture. considerations for responsible use. IUCN - The World Conservation Union. Gland, Switzerland & Cambridge, UK 32p.
Murphy ST and Cheesman OD. 2006. The Aid Trade - International Assistance Programs as Pathways for the Introduction of Invasive Alien Species. Environment Department Papers, The World Bank. 109.
Young TR. 2006. National and Regional Legislation for promotion and Support to the Prevention, Control, and Eradication of Invasive Species. Environment Papers, The World Bank. 108.
Gutierrez AT and Reaser JK. 2005. Linkages between Development Assistance and Invasive Alien Species in Freshwater Systems in South East Asia. USAID Asia and Near East Bureau. Washington, DC.
Matthews S. 2005. South America Invaded. The Global Invasive Species Programme - GISP. 80p.
McGarry D, Shackelton CM, Gambiza J, Shackelton SE and Fabricius CF. 2005. A rapid assessment of the effects of invasive species on Human livelihoods, especially of the rural poor. Department of Environmental Science. Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. 54p.
Neville LE, Schei PJ, Waage JK, Mooney HA, Mack RN and McNeely JA. 2005. Invasive alien species. A new synthesis. GISP. 368p.
Perrings C. 2005. The socioeconomic links between invasive alien species and poverty Global Invasive Species Program.
CAB International. 2004. Prevention and Management of Invasive Alien Species: Forging Cooperation throughout West Africa - Proceedings of a Regional Workshop. The Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP). Accra, Ghana. 111p.
Hilliard R. 2004. Best practice for the management of introduced marine pests: a Review. Prepared for GISP by URS Australia Pty. Ltd. 173p.
International C. 2004. Prevention and Management of Alien Invasive Species: Forging Cooperation throughout West Africa. CAB International. Accra, Ghana. 111p.
Matthews S and Brand K. 2004. Africa invaded: the growing danger of invasive alien species. The Global Invasive Species Programme. 80p.
Matthews S. 2004. Tropical Asia invaded: the growing danger of invasive alien species. The Global Invasive Species Programme. 65p.
National Botanical Institute and the Global Invasive Species Programme. 2004. Invasive Alien Species: A Challenge to NEPAD: Africans Working Together to Protect Life and Livelihoods. 12p.
Sankaran KV. 2004. Giant African Snail. APFISN - Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network. 2p.
IOCREP. 2003. Regional Workshop on Invasive Alien Species and Terrestrial Ecosystem Rehabilitation for Western Indian Ocean Island states – Sharing Experience, Identifying Priorities and Defining Joint Action. Indian Ocean Commission Regional Environment Programme. Berjaya Mahé Beach Hotel, Seychelles. 207p.
Jumeau R and Minister for Environment the Seychelles. 2003. Proceedings of the Regional Workshop on Invasive Alien Species and Terrestrial Ecosystem Rehabilitation for Western Indian Ocean Island states. Sharing Experience, Identifying Priorities and Defining Joint Action, Seychelles 13 - 17th October 2003. Regional Workshop in the South-West Indian Ocean Islands. 207p.
Macdonald IAW, Reaser JK, Bright C, Neville LE, Howard GW, Murphy SJ and Preston G. 2003. Invasive Alien Species in Southern Africa: National Reports & Directory of Resources. The Global Invasive Species Programme. Cape Town, South Africa. 125p.
Pallewatta N, Reaser JK and Gutierrez AT. 2003. Invasive Alien Species in South-Southeast Asia: National Reports & Directory of Resources. The Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP). Cape Town, South Africa. 111p.
Baskin Y. 2002. A plague of rats and rubbervines: the growing threat of species invasions. In: (Eds). A plague of rats and rubbervines: the growing threat of species invasions. Island Press. i-viii, 1-377
IUCN. 2002. The Eradication of Invasive Species: Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives. IUCN. 422p.
Macdonald IAW, Reaser JK, Bright C, Neville LE, Howard GW, Murphy ST and Preston G. 2002. Prevention and Management of Invasive Alien Species Proceedings of a Workshop on Forging Cooperation throughout Southern Africa. The Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP). Lusaka, Zambia. 90p.
Pallewatta N, Reaser JK and Gutierrez AG. 2002. Prevention and Management of Invasive Alien Species: Proceedings of a Workshop on Forging Cooperation throughout South and Southeast Asia. The Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP). Bangkok, Thailand. 98p.
Shine C, Reaser JK and Gutierrez AT. 2002. Prevention and Management of Invasive Alien Species: Proceedings of a Workshop on Forging Cooperation throughout the Austral-Pacific. The Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP). Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. 133p.
Shine C, Reaser JK and Gutierrez AT. 2002. Invasive alien species in the Austral Pacific Region: National Reports & Directory of Resources. The Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP). Honolulu, Hawaii. 189p.
GISP. 2001. Mesoamerica and the Caribbean: Invasives in Mesoamerica and the Caribbean. IUCN - The World Conservation Union. San José, Costa Rica. 58p.
GISP. 2001. Invasive Alien Species: A Toolkit of Best Prevention and Management Practices. CAB International. Wallingford, Oxon, UK. 241p.
GISP. 2001. Prevention and management of Invasive Alien Species: Proceedings of a workshop on forging cooperation throughout South America. Global Invasive Species Programme. Brasilia, Brazil.
McNeely JA, Mooney HA, Neville LE, Schei P and Waage JK. 2001. Global Strategy on Invasive Alien Species. IUCN on behalf of the Global Invasive Species Programme. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK 62p.
McNeely JA. 2001. The Great Reshuffling: Human Dimensions of Invasive Alien Species. IUCN. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. 242p.
Perrings C, Williamson MH and Dalmazzone S. 2001. The Economics of Biological Invasions. Edward Elgar Pub. 264p.
Reaser JK, Neville LE and Svart HE. 2001. Management of Invasive Alien Species: Forging Cooperation in the Baltic/Nordic Region. The Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP). Copenhagen, Denmark. 36p.
Commission SAUSoAB-N. 2000. Best Management Practices for Preventing and Controlling Invasive Alien Species: Symposium on Policies and Implementation. South Africa / United States of America Bi-National Commission. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa.
Everett RA. 2000. Patterns and pathways of biological invasions. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 15(5):177-178
ICIPE. 2000. Invasive Species in Eastern Africa: Proceedings of a workshop held at ICIPE ICIPE Science Press. Nairobi, Kenya. 113p.
Lowe S, Browne M and Boudjelas S. 2000. 100 of the World's Worst invasive Alien Species: a Selection from the Global Invasive Species Database. ISSG - The Invasive Species Specialist Group 10p.
Mooney HA and Hobbs RJ. 2000. Invasive species in a changing world. In: (Eds). Invasive species in a changing world. Island Press. i-xv, 1-457
Shine C, Williams N and Gündling L. 2000. A Guide to Designing Legal and Institutional Frameworks on Alien Invasive Species. IUCN - The World Conservation Union. 152p.
Dukes JS and Mooney HA. 1999. Does global change increase the success of biological invaders? Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 14(4):135-139
ICIPE. 1999. East Africa: Invasive Species in Eastern Africa: Proceedings of a workshop ICIPE - International centre of insect physiology and ecology
Mooney HA. 1999. A global strategy for dealing with alien invasive species. In: (Eds). Population and Community Biology Series. 407-418
Mooney H. 1999. The Global Invasive Species Program (GISP). Biological Invasions. 1(97-98)
Baskin Y. 1998. Winners and losers in a changing world. Bioscience. 48(10):788-792
Richard W and Dean J. 1998. Space invaders: modelling the distribution, impacts and control of alien organisms. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 13(7):256-8