Millions of the world’s most vulnerable people face problems with invasive weeds, insects and plant diseases , which are out of control and have a major impact on global prosperity, communities and the environment. Developing countries are disproportionately affected. The global cost of the world’s 1.2 million invasive species is estimated at $1.4 trillion per year – close to 5 percent of global gross domestic product. In East Africa, five major invasive species alone cause $1 billion in economic losses to smallholder farmers each year.

In response, CABI is today launching a unique, global programme with the aim to protect and improve the livelihoods of 50 million poor rural households impacted by invasive species. The UK Aid and DGIS funded Action on Invasives programme will champion an environmentally sustainable, cross-sectoral and regional approach to dealing with invasive species.

The programme will bring together CABI’s 100-year track record in invasive species management, strengthening of plant health systems and delivery of practical and authoritative knowledge and solutions into the hands of everyone affected – from farmers to policy-makers. The ultimate goal is to enable developing countries to prevent, detect and control invasive species in order to protect and restore agricultural and natural ecosystems, reduce crop losses, improve health, remove trade barriers and reduce degradation of natural resources, infrastructure and vulnerable areas.

Programme Executive Dr Roger Day says: ‘In human health, the global community has a strong track record of responding both to historical challenges such as polio, as well as acute oubreaks such as the Zika virus. However, in plant health the record is not so strong. Working together with stakeholders and partners across the world, our aim is to empower developing countries to take action and address the wide-ranging threat of invasive species.’

With support and funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Netherland’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) , the programme has been piloted in Ghana and Pakistan on specific species and is now being scaled up so people around the world are not short-changed on opportunities to fulfil their true potential and help their countries prosper. CABI and its partners are therefore seeking a $50m investment to coordinate the programme and implement a multinational invasive species framework.

Dr Roger Day says: ‘We believe the Action on Invasives programme will contribute to improving people’s livelihoods and food security, as well as countries’ trade opportunities and commitment to environmental protection. This in turn will support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Plant Protection Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity. CABI is asking the global community to commit to reducing the impact of invasive species and I invite everyone to support the Action on Invasives programme in any way they can.’

More information

For more information about the Action on Invasives programme and CABI’s work on invasive species, please visit:

About CABI

CABI is an international not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

Through knowledge sharing and science, CABI helps address issues of global concern such as improving global food security and safeguarding the environment. We do this by helping farmers grow more and lose less of what they produce, combating threats to agriculture and the environment from pests and diseases, protecting biodiversity from invasive species, and improving access to agricultural and environmental scientific knowledge. Our 48 member countries guide and influence our core areas of work, which include development and research projects, scientific publishing and microbial services.

We gratefully acknowledge the core financial support from our member countries and lead agencies including the United Kingdom (Department for International Development), China (Chinese Ministry of Agriculture), Australia (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research), Canada (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), Netherlands (Directorate-General for International Cooperation), and Switzerland (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation). Other sources of funding include the fees paid by our member countries and profits from our publishing activities which enable CABI to support rural development and scientific research around the world.

Media contact

Wayne Coles

Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1491 829395 Email:

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