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Invasive Alien Species

Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are animals and plants that are introduced accidentally or deliberately into a natural environment where they are not normally found, with serious negative consequences for their new environment. They represent a major threat to native plants and animals in Europe, causing damage worth billions of Euros to the European economy every year. As invasive alien species do not respect borders, coordinated action at the European level will be more effective than individual actions at the Member State level.

EU Regulation 1143/2014 on Invasive Alien Species

Regulation (EU) 1143/2014 on invasive alien species (the IAS Regulation) entered into force on 1 January 2015, fulfilling Action 16 of Target 5 of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, as well as Aichi Target 9 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 under the Convention of Biological Diversity.

The core of the IAS Regulation is the list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern (the Union list). For information about the species currently included on this list, click here.

The IAS Regulation provides for a set of measures to be taken across the EU in relation to invasive alien species included on the Union list. Three distinct types of measures are envisaged, which follow an internationally agreed hierarchical approach to combatting IAS:

  • Prevention: a number of robust measures aimed at preventing the intentional or unintentional introduction of IAS of Union concern into the EU.
  • Early detection and rapid eradication: Member States must put in place a surveillance system to detect the presence of IAS of Union concern as early as possible and take rapid eradication measures to prevent them from establishing.
  • Management: some IAS of Union concern are already established in certain Member States. Concerted management action is needed to prevent them from spreading any further and to minimize the harm they cause.

Committee and expert groups on invasive alien species

The Commission is assisted by a number of bodies in the implementation of the IAS Regulation.

  • The Committee on IAS assists the Commission in the preparation of implementing acts foreseen by the IAS Regulation, mainly the adoption and updates of the list of invasive alien species of Union concern. It consists of representatives of all Member States. More information on its activities can be found here.

  • The Invasive Alien Species Expert Group (IASEG) supports the implementation of the IAS Regulation beyond the Commission’s implementing powers. It consists of representatives of all Member States. More information on its activities can be found here.

  • The Scientific Forum on IAS provides advice on scientific questions related to the implementation of the IAS Regulation. It consists of representatives of the scientific community appointed by the Member States. More information on its activities can be found here.

  • The Working Group on IAS assists the Commission and facilitates coordination. It consists of interested stakeholders and Member States representatives. More information on its activities can be found here.

Relevant acts

Support to the implementation of the Regulation

Several information documents have been developed in support of the implementation of the Regulation (they should not be considered to represent the views of the European Commission).

Prevention: Early detection and rapid eradication: Management:

Other information:

Information support system & citizen science

The European Commission has developed an information exchange mechanism to facilitate the implementation of the EU policy on invasive alien species: the European Alien Species Information Network (EASIN). It's an online platform that aims to facilitate access to existing information on alien species from a range of sources.

EASIN includes a Species Search and Mapping tool, allowing for basic and advanced search of a database including over 14 000 alien species in Europe, and showing their distribution on a map. It includes the species currently on the Union list.

EASIN includes the notification system, NOTSYS, for Member States to inform the Commission on new observations of IAS of Union concern, and on the rapid eradication measures taken.

Finally, if you are interested in becoming a citizen scientist and want to help monitor invasive alien species (IAS) in your region, you can use the App “Invasive Alien Species Europe” to report on the IAS of Union Concern. Developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the app enables citizens to report IAS occurrences in Europe thus contributing to early detections of new invaders.

The Invasive Alien Species in Europe app can be downloaded here:
Apple iTunes Store
Google Play Store

More information on the App can be found here.

Financial support system

The European Commission is supporting action on invasive alien species through its existing financing instruments. Some examples:

  • LIFE - the EU's financial instrument for environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects - supports measures on invasive alien species ranging from preventing their spread to eradicating or controlling them in places where they are already present. LIFE also provides support for trans-border cooperation and awareness-raising on invasive alien species. You can find more details in the brochure on LIFE and Invasive Alien Species.
  • Horizon 2020 - the EU Research and Innovation programme, for example the Project DAISIE ("Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe") under FP 6, which brought together data about biological invasions across Europe.
  • The EU Rural Development policy 2014-2020 provides opportunities to address invasive alien species through national and regional rural development programmes.
  • Cohesion funding may also include action on invasive alien species, e.g. the INVEXO Interreg IV A-project which supported joint management efforts on 4 priority invasive alien species in Flanders and the South of the Netherlands.

History of the EU IAS Policy

Preparation of the Regulation

Two public consultations were held on the IAS policy in 2008 and 2012. The results are available here: 2008 and 2012.

Preparatory studies towards Regulation (EU) 1143/2014. They should not be considered to represent the views of the European Commission.

On 3 December 2008 the European Commission adopted a Communication "Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Species" :

The EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy adopted in May 2011 announced a dedicated legislative instrument on invasive alien species, hence the new proposal.

The Commission proposal for a regulation on Invasive Alien Species was launched on 9 September 2013. All related documents can be found below:

Preparation of the Union list

Preparatory studies towards the first list of IAS of Union concern. They should not be considered to represent the views of the European Commission.

  • Framework for the identification of invasive alien species of EU concern – October 2014: Report

  • Ad hoc scientific workshop to complete IAS risk assessments – February 2015
    This workshop provided scientific support to the development of the first list of IAS of Union concern:
    Report, including Annex 2 to the report

Studies on ragweed, they should not be considered to represent the views of the European Commission.

All other working material related to the EU invasive alien species policy preparation is accessible here.

More information

For further information or comments please write to: ENV-IAS@ec.europa.eu.

Back to Target 5 of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy.

 

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