Description: The legislation that a country has in place to prevent introductions and to control existing populations of invasive alien species (IAS) is considered an intention by that country to control IAS1,2. This indicator is based on the assumption that countries with IAS-relevant national legislation are more likely to achieve the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Framework Goal of controlling invasive alien species than countries without such policy.
Objective: National policy status for IAS provides a measure of the degree to which countries have recognised IAS as a threat to biodiversity and as a result have developed and adopted legislation aimed at controlling IAS (including preventing introductions). This indicator thus reflects the intention by a country to control IAS.
Relationship to the 2010 biodiversity goals and sub-targets: National policy status is indirectly related to Goal 6 of the CBD Framework, i.e. control threats from invasive alien species3. It represents the intention of a country to address Sub-target 6.1 of the CBD Framework, i.e. pathways for major potential alien invasive species controlled and Sub-target 6.2 of the CBD Framework, i.e. management plans in place for major alien species that threaten ecosystems, habitats or species3.
Rationale for inclusion: The increase through time in the number of countries with IAS-relevant legislation shows the rate at which countries have come to recognise IAS as a significant problem and have formalized their intention to put control measures in place. The indicator is policy relevant and trend data are accessible.
Whereas many countries do not have IAS-relevant legislation, South Africa does. In chapter 64 of South Africa's National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act4 the following objectives are included: to prevent the unauthorized introduction and spread of alien species and invasive species to ecosystems and habitats where they do not naturally occur; to manage and control alien species and invasive species to prevent or minimize harm to the environment and to biodiversity in particular; to eradicate alien species and invasive species from ecosystems and habitats where they may harm such ecosystems or habitats4. South Africa is included in this indicator as having IAS-relevant legislation established in 2004.