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CABI Americas and Caribbean consultation focuses on the impact of invasive species on food security and trade

CABI Americas and Caribbean consultation focuses on the impact of invasive species on food security and trade

18 September 2018 - Some 60 delegates, including representatives from 12 CABI member countries, gathered in Ottawa, Canada this week 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 species like weeds. Among long-term collaboration between two parties, CABI's role in Canadian efforts targetting invasive insect pests and weeds was particularly significant and commendable."

Dr Dennis Rangi, CABI’s Director General, Development, joined Dr Oudho Homenauth, Director, National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and CABI Liaison Officer for Guyana, in highlighting priority areas and associated cross-cutting themes including public-private partnerships and women and youth empowerment.

Outcomes through the discussions on these issues, and review of previously identified priorities, will be consolidated with those from other regional consultations and matched with CABI’s capabilities, resources and strategies. The consolidated results will then be fed into CABI’s Review Conference, scheduled to take place from 12th to 13th September 2019 in Egham, UK, to guide the revision of CABI’s next Medium Term Strategy, and help steer the organization’s overall strategy for the coming years.

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Dr Rangi said, “These triennial meetings have become an important activity in CABI’s calendar and serve as a marketplace for strategic and innovative ideas. As a membership organization, they provide an opportunity for our Member Countries to provide input into CABI’s plans and thus own them but more importantly, serve as a mechanism for CABI to listen and engage directly with its membership. This will help to shape the revision of CABI Medium-term Strategy and so based on the priorities identified by you (our member countries) in 2015-16, we have decided to build more capabilities in these five key issues. We believe these will help our member countries in their endeavour to achieve the SDGs.”

On the final day of the regional consultation Co-Chairpersons William Vanterpool, Director of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and CABI Liaison Officer for Anguilla joined Dr Andy Robinson, Managing Director, Publishing, at CABI to present speakers who outlined new CABI initiatives – ultimately aimed at helping farmers lose less of what they grow to agricultural pests and diseases.

Among case studies from CABI member countries and partners, Dr Tara Gariepy, from AAFC, spoke about the Canada-CABI collaboration in respect of the global management of the invasive brown marmorated stink bug. Courtney Cole, from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Kingston presented about reinforcing food security and strengthening the national plant health system in Jamaica and Dr Carlos Wilcken, of Faculdade de Ciências Agronômicas – Universidade Estadual Paulista, Botucatu, Brazil, spoke about the biological control of the Fall armyworm in South America.

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 poignant 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:

Access the CABI Science Strategy, which is an annex to the Medium Term Strategy, here:

See what CABI board members have to say about meeting the SDGs in a series of short videos on the CABI YouTube channel here: