News Release

Invasive alien plants and pests: the communication challenge

10 May 2013
Alien Invasive Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) which has spread around the entire tropics and is now moving north into southern Europe as Climate Change makes conditions suitable for it.
Photo: IUCN

Research to better understand the impacts of biological invasions has been carried out across Europe. Governments and institutions have undertaken prevention and control actions, and the European Commission is expected to present a dedicated legislative instrument in the near future. However, despite these initiatives, the general public is rarely aware of what pests and invasive alien plants are, and what damage they can cause. Raising awareness among the society is an indispensable step for fully addressing the issue.

Communicating on the topic of pests and invasive alien plants is a challenging task, as it involves explaining what these species are, as well as describing their impacts. Also, often scientists and civil servants working on invasive species are not trained in the use of communication tools and strategies.

The European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO), in cooperation with the Council of Europe, the European Environment Agency and the IUCN Specialist Group on Invasive Species will organize a workshop focusing on the challenges faced when communicating on pests and invasive alien plants.

The workshop will present examples of different communication tools and explain which have worked well and which have not. Examples of communication actions on pests and invasive alien plants exist, but few of these are widely known and no inventory exists. A survey will soon be launched by the EPPO Secretariat on its website to gather existing communication cases. Ministries of agriculture and environment, national plant protection organizations, environmental agencies, NGOs and universities will be invited to contribute.

Time at the workshop will be also dedicated to discussing the perception which people have of invasive alien species which is very important when drafting communications guidelines in this field.

The workshop will take place on 8-10 October 2013 in Oeiras in Portugal at the kind invitation of the General Directorate of Food and Veterinary (Portuguese Plant Protection Organization), the Centre for Functional Ecology (University of Coimbra) and the Agrarian School of Coimbra (Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra). The workshop will be attended by civil servants, scientists, land managers, members of NGOs, and journalists.

Please register here before 1 June 2013.


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