Mr John Pwamang, the Acting Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency has called for a holistic effort to address the threat of invasive species to protect the environment.

Mr Pwamang said invasive species were spreading due to increasing travel, trade and tourism which if not managed would worsen its severity and impact on biodiversity.

He said this on Tuesday at a stakeholder workshop to review and validate the final draft of the National Invasive Species Strategy and Action Plan (NISSAP) in Accra.

The NISSAP provides a comprehensive and coordinated approach to addressing invasive species issues in Ghana.
This is also in line with international agreements and protocols, notably the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

He said NISSAP was developed to ensure a common understanding and consistent way of dealing with problems relating to invasive species, since over the years, a number of interventions to address the issues had been adhoc, uncoordinated and not sustainable.

He said majority of Ghana’s population depended on biodiversity for their livelihood and that, invasive species was known to be one of the most serious threats to global biodiversity loss after habitat conversion.

The Acting Executive Director said there were a number of invasive species infestation in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in Ghana, with devastating impacts on livelihoods, ecosystem functioning and services and socio-economic costs to society.

He said Ghana experienced heavy losses from the fall army worm infestation which affected more than 20,000 hectares of farms nationwide with implication on food security.

“The deposition of the Sargassum on the coastline of Ghana impacted on the artisanal fishery, coastal tourism and biodiversity and the livelihood of the coastal communities. As we lose this biodiversity, we lose food, water, energy, raw material, medicines and the cultural and spiritual wellbeing it provides”,

Dr Felix Jerry Akpabey, Senior Research Scientist, Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, Water Research Institute said the Action Plan would serve as a guide to track government’s progress on target 15.8 under the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and the targets in the National Biodiversity Strategy (NBS)

He said there was no single strategy and legislation that dealt explicitly with invasive species management, adding that the scope of invasive species control in the NBS and action plan was limited and does not ensure a coordinated action by relevant stakeholders.

Dr Akpabey said the action plan would be completed by the end of 2019 and articulated the actions required to address the agree-upon priorities and established results.

“The plan will also identify the timelines and agencies with a responsibility in successfully achieving the required results”.

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