The Minister has made the announcement at the International Convention on Biological Diversity which is currently meeting in Cancun, Mexico to consider the best way to meet targets to reduce the impact of invasive species on global biodiversity.
“New Zealand’s commitment to Predator Free 2050 is the largest and most ambitious invasive species eradication project ever attempted. We are already seen as world leaders in pest control,” says Ms Barry.
“This Government has set a goal of completely eradicating invasive rats, stoats and possums from New Zealand by 2050 to make the country safe again for native species threatened with extinction through predation.
“Today’s announcement will see New Zealand take a leadership role and work globally on strategies and targets to stop the spread of alien species internationally.
“This builds on New Zealand’s early support for the 2016 Honolulu Challenge on Invasive Alien Species launched by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (ICUN) in September. It is an initiative by 33 international conservation organisations calling for urgent action to reduce the impact of invasive species on global biodiversity.
“New Zealand is a microcosm of the global scene – invasive alien animals and plants are a major cause of species declines and extinctions around the world.
“As a nation we have become very good at controlling and eradicating species, in particular, rats, stoats and possums, which have predated on some of our vulnerable native bird species to the brink of extinction.
“The Convention has identified areas of common interest and targets, and the promise to share our knowledge, experience and expertise in helping each other to reclaim native habitats.
“I’m very proud to announce New Zealand’s commitment to take a leadership role to work with partners in other countries to increase global efforts to achieve Aichi Target 9: that Invasive alien species are controlled and eradicated.
“By addressing target 9 we will also be able to make a significant impact on Target 12: Preventing species extinctions as well as Target 13: Restoration of ecosystems to improve livelihoods.
“To meet the Aichi Targets requires strong political will and leadership. There is a sense of urgency that all countries need to do much more if, individually and collectively, we are to achieve these important goals in just four years.
“It will require meaningful engagement with local communities and indigenous peoples. I challenge and warmly invite other governments to join New Zealand in creating the will and leadership needed to achieve this target.
“We intend that a programme of work will be developed by any interested partners by July 2017 to ensure specific actions are underway by this time next year with the aim of achieving real and measurable change by 2020,” says Ms Barry.
IUCN Director-General Inger Andersen says today’s announcement and New Zealand’s earlier commitment to the Honolulu Challenge at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii are a clear testament to the country’s leadership role in our fight against invasive species.
“Invasive species are one of the biggest threats to our planet’s biodiversity. IUCN stands ready to assist New Zealand and encourages other nations and organisations to follow its bold steps to address this urgent global challenge,” says Ms Andersen.