The first major meeting to consider the global character of the invasive alien species (IAS) threat was held in Trondheim, Norway in 1996, convened by the Norwegian government and various United Nations (UN) organizations, which recommended development of a Global Strategy and mechanism for addressing invasive species. As a result of this meeting, the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) was formed in 1997. In 2001, the GISP issued a 'Call to Action' at the 6th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Science, Technology and Technical Advice (SBSTTA) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held in Montreal, Canada. The Call to Action described the effects of IAS as a global problem and challenged governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-government organizations, the private sector and all other interested parties to take steps to implement Global Strategy on Invasive Alien Species.
After issuing the Call to Action in 2001, the GISP initiated and coordinated seven regional workshops to assess the global IAS threat, impact, and needs. These workshops resulted in several declarations (e.g. the Kirstenbosch and Davis declarations from South Africa and the US in 2000 & 2001; the Russia-US declaration, the Copenhagen declaration from the nations of the Nordic/Baltic region and the Brasilia declaration from South American nations in 2001). Reports delivered by the nations involved in these workshops identified the need for information sharing, capacity building, financial support, research, expertise and other resources for addressing the IAS threat.
In 2003, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) was approached by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and asked to coordinate a workshop or gathering of experts to explore the implementation of a GISIN.
The Experts Meeting on Implementation of a GISIN was convened April 6 - 8, 2004 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. The four main goals of the meeting were:-
Substantial progress was made by the 76 participants in agreeing on the types and formats of information to be collected by participating online invasive species databases. Twenty-six countries were represented by participants at the meeting. Many alliances and tentative agreements were made among members of these nations and organizations. Participants forged new collaboration efforts and plans to exchange invasive species information, share database structures, and link existing databases. The charter of the GISIN, known as The Baltimore Declaration was released in June 2004.
A steering committee was chosen that now coordinates and defines next steps for the network. In addition to being posted on this Web site, the transcripts of presentations (with permission), details of the agreements, and questions raised were used to create the workshop's proceedings, published in August, 2004.
NOTE: If you would like to participate in this initiative, please contact Annie Simpson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Elizabeth Sellers (email@example.com).
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