Monday, August 13, 2007

Collaborating for Strategic Action Planning

People from a range of different sectors are affected by the damage caused by invasive species such as ants, rats and weeds, and multi-disciplinary coordination and collaboration is key to effective action to tackle them at the national or state level. “Effective action” also requires a plan, defining what the future will look like and giving a “road map” to show how to get there. Opportunities for collaboration and coordination of activities can be easily spotted in a multi-sector plan, allowing for better use of resources, both human and financial.

In November 2006 the Pohnpei invasive species team produced simple, realistic multi-agency action plans for priority invasive species that were seen as a model by other invasive species groups in the region. The activity was facilitated by Lucille Apis- Overhoff of the TNC, Pohnpei office, who offered to assist other countries in the sub-region to carry out the same activity. The offer was taken up by Kosrae State and the Marshall Islands, and recognizing the value of coordination, the MIC and Pacific Invasives Learning Network (PILN) coordinators came together with Lucille Apis Overhoff of the TNC to facilitate the workshops.

An invasive species strategic action planning workshop was held from 25 – 26 April 2007 in Kosrae state, hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Tofol. For Kosrae this is the first multi-agency workshop focused on invasive species to be held, and the formation of a Kosrae invasive species taskforce (KIST) along the model of the Pohnpei one seen as one of the most useful outputs of the workshop.

The newly established KIST identified 6 thematic areas of concern for invasive species management in Kosrae State: Funding, Public awareness, Commitment, Capacity building, Coordination, and Policy and Legislation. Longer-term strategic goals and objectives have been established for each thematic area. KIST identified three species of terrestrial plant for immediate priority action in the current and next financial years, Mikania micrantha mile-a-minute vine (Mah Tepat), Luceana sp. tree (Tangantangan) and Ischaemum sp. grass (Mah Sacnsrihk). Marine invasive species are recognised as important and flagged for future action.

The KIST Strategic Action Plan establishes goals, objectives, activities, collaborators, timeframe, funding sources and estimated costs for control of these three species. Work plans have been developed to address these terrestrial plants, linked to the KIST mission, and carry through to the end of 2008.

Following this, an invasive species strategic action planning workshop was held from 3 – 4 May 2007 in the Marshall Islands. As with Kosrae, the formation of a Marshall Islands invasive species taskforce (MIIST) was seen as one of the most useful outputs of the workshop.

The newly established MIIST identified four thematic areas of concern for invasive species management in the Republic of the Marshall Islands: Education, Public Awareness and Research, Funding and Resources, Prioritisation, Planning and Collaboration, and Legislation. Longer-term strategic goals and objectives have been established for each thematic area. MIIST identified three areas for immediate priority action in the current and next financial years: ants, a package of 10 terrestrial weeds, and marine threats, including ballast water. Insect pests and diseases to breadfruit, urban rats and feral pigeons are recognised as important and flagged for future action.

The MIIST Strategic Action Plan establishes goals, objectives, activities, collaborators, timeframe, funding sources and estimated costs for control of these three areas. Work plans have been developed to address these terrestrial plants, linked to the MIIST mission, and carry through to the end of 2008.


“If you fail to plan you plan to fail”
“If you are prepared you have already won half the battle”

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