Results of the survey on the implementation of the Code of conduct on horticulture and invasive alien plants in European and Mediterranean countries
In 2009, EPPO and the Council of Europe (CoE) jointly drafted and published a Code of conduct on horticulture and invasive alien plants. Following its publication, EPPO and the Council of Europe organized a workshop to reflect on how this Code of conduct could be implemented and made recommendations in this regard (see http://archives.eppo.org/MEETINGS/2009_conferences/conf_codeofconduct.htm).
In order to assess the implementation of this Code of conduct within countries, EPPO, the Council of Europe and the European Environment Agency (EEA) joined forces to launch an electronic questionnaire in June 2011. This questionnaire remained open for one month and was addressed to the 50 National Plant Protection Organizations of the EPPO region, the Ministries of the Environment of the Council of Europe Member States, NGOs and the general public.
This survey yielded 33 answers from 22 countries (Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (incl. Canary Islands and Menorca for Baleares), Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Great Britain). Among the respondants, 2 were representatives of Universities, 4 were from NGOs, 9 were from NPPOs and 18 were from Ministries of Environment, the two latter institutions being fused in some countries.
Only 5 respondents were not aware of the existence of the CoE/EPPO Code of conduct on horticulture and invasive alien plants, and their respondents were either from a non-EPPO member country, an NGO, or a University. Among the 28 persons who were aware of the existence of the European Code of conduct, 12 reported national initiatives involving Codes of conduct either on-going or planned in Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the Netherlands, the Great Britain.
The description of the initiatives taken by Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland and Northern Ireland are presented in this issue of the Reporting Service. Those in Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the Netherlands and Great Britain will be described in the next issue of the Reporting Service.
It is worth noticing that many existing initiatives are coupling the implementation of the Code of conduct and a national legislation on invasive alien plants. In addition, many countries are also gathering sightings of invasive alien species through citizen observations.
Respondents to the survey from countries where the Code of conduct is not being implemented provided the following suggestions to improve the situation:
- The economic benefits of selling invasive alien plants may initially appear to be superior to the management costs of these species. However, showing the actual costs of the impacts caused by invasive alien plants could rectify this. Identifying alternative species which could replace the lost markets could increase willingness to implement the Code of conduct.
- Spreading the information on the Code of conduct among Universities and involving the general public could enhance its implementation.
- EPPO, the CoE and the EEA may support the translation of the Code of conduct into other languages and publicize these translations.
- Improve communication on various lists of invasive alien plants to differentiate those species that should be regulated and those that should be dealt by the Code of conduct could enhance its implementation.
Respondents to the survey on the implementation of the EPPO/CoE/EEA Code of conduct on Horticulture and Invasive Alien Plants in European and Mediterranean countries.