Some 60 delegates, including representatives from 12 CABI member countries, gathered in Ottawa, Canada for CABI’s Americas and Caribbean regional consultation meeting, where emerging issues around invasive species and food security were discussed.

The meeting was the opportunity for member countries and partners to hear how CABI, is making progress against its Medium Term Strategy 2017-2019, particularly on five priority areas. These include: trade and market access, knowledge management, communication and use, food and nutrition security, plant health systems and biodiversity and ecosystems (including Invasive Species Management).

Members and partners also heard how these priorities – demonstrable to CABI’s donors – cut across various issues including capacity building and governance and women and youth empowerment with the ultimate purpose of working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The delegation, who met at the Delta Hotel in Ottawa, Canada, between 11 to 13 September 2018, were also invited on a field trip to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) research and experimental facilities hosted by AAFC staff.

Dr Michèle Marcotte, Director of Research, Development and Technology at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and CABI Liaison Officer for Canada, opened a plenary session looking at progress towards CABI’s Medium-term Strategy 2017-2019 before inviting keynote addresses from the host country, Canada. These were followed by case studies from such member countries as Chile, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, and prospective member country, Brazil.

Dr Marcotte said, ‘It was a pleasure and logical for Canada to host CABI’s Americas and Caribbean Regional Consultation here in Ottawa. Canada has over 70 years of partnership with CABI, providing access to overseas infrastructure, scientific expertise and networks – for example China, Switzerland, and the UK – to AAFC and Canadian researchers.

“Participation in international science bodies like CABI allows member countries to work together to generate new science and to facilitate the exchange of bio-control organisms in order for each member country to more effectively combat pests, diseases and invasive alien specices like weeds. Among long-term collaboration between two parties, CABI’s role in Canadian efforts targeting invasive insect pests and weeds was particularly significant and commendable.”

The outcomes of the Regional Consultations will feed into the next CABI Review Conference, scheduled for September 2019, and guide the revisions of CABI’s Medium-Term Strategy 2020-2022.

Dr Trevor Nicholls, CABI CEO, said, ‘The Regional Consultation in Canada was a great opportunity to meet with member country delegates from around the region as well as a broad range of representatives from branches of the Canadian government as well as partner organisations such as FAO, CBD, USDA and Farm Radio International.

“The meeting was highly participative and we received a lot of useful input for the strategy refresh of our Medium Term plan, confirming that the major strategic priorities remain unchanged but putting much greater emphasis on practical actions to empower women, employ youth and address climate change.

“This was the fourth consultation we have held in the region over the past 10 years and it was good to hear how our programmes have become more aligned to the needs of member countries, both large and small, as a result of this process.”

Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, CABI’s Executive Director, Global Operations, said, ‘The Americas and Caribbean regional consultation was a fantastic opportunity to update and hear from all our member countries about how invasive species are being tackled.

‘But it was particularly appropriate to have held the meeting in Canada as CABI has a long history of working in partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and various Canadian universities to develop biologically-based management solutions for a range of invasive species including the cabbage seedpod weevil, the apple leaf-curling midge and the diamondback moth.’

Additional information

Other regional consultations are scheduled for:

  • Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation, 17th-19th October 2018, Beijing, China
  • African Regional Consultation, 26th-28th, February 2019, Botswana (TBC)

Read more about CABI’s Medium Term Strategy 2017-2019 here:

Find out more about the benefits of CABI Membership here:

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