Conservation, Biodiversity and International Law

Conservation, Biodiversity and International Law

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Alexander Gillespie

This important and timely book provides a rigorous overview of the defining issues presently facing conservation at international level. The author provides detailed coverage of topics ranging from the classification of species right through to access and benefit sharing, drawing on his personal experience at intergovernmental level. Each question is examined through the prism of dozens of treaties and hundreds of decisions and resolutions of the key multilateral regimes, and the law in each area is supplemented by the necessary considerations of science, politics and philosophy – providing much-needed context for the reader.

Chapter 10: Aliens, Disease, Pests, and Genetically Modified Species

Alexander Gillespie

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, public international law

Extract

1. INTRODUCTION Alien species are commonly recognized as a fundamental threat to many endemic species and the ecosystems that they exist within. International conservation law has recognized this problem since 1933. Since this point, the necessity to deal with this difficulty has been recognized through species-focused conventions which can focus on either the invasive species or the endangered species they impact upon. Some of these conventions also focus on matters such as the reintroduction of species into genetically isolated populations. The regime which has built up around protected areas has also adopted a forthright approach in this area in terms of ensuring that alien species are not tolerated within conservation areas. The controls on plant and animal diseases have an even earlier lineage, dating back to 1929. Attempts to control animals which may not be alien, but are considered ‘pests’, date back even further. Controlling the pathways of alien species is dealt with, sometimes, via the sectors that have oversight of the transport mechanisms, such as via ocean or air transport. Only the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety attempts to control (genetically modified) alien species before they are commercially utilized, via both advanced informed agreement and risk assessment. There is no international regime, as such, dealing with ‘natural’ invasive species in the same manner. 2. ALIENS, DISEASE AND OTHER PESTS An alien species is a species which is new to a region and has a negative impact on the new environment, either ecologically, economically, or socially. It is not a species...

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