National Target

  published: 10 May 2019

Objective 5.7 - Consider the potential impact on biodiversity, and in particular the invasiveness of species, in making import and export decisions.


The international trade may adversely impact biodiversity by introducing new species such as invasive alien species (IAS), GMOs or diseases that affect related species.

Many alien species enter Belgium unintentionally, for example through wood imports, or they are imported intentionally for use in many areas (agriculture, horticulture, pet trade, etc.).

It is crucial to consider the potential impacts on biodiversity when developing national legislation and regulations that deal with the trade in live animals or plants.

Besides biodiversity-related conventions, several international conventions and organisations are relevant when taking import/exports decision in order to avoid damages on biodiversity. For example, the issue of IAS is dealt by the following forums:

- The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was invited by the CBD, through its committee on trade and the environment, to take invasive alien species issues into account when considering the impacts of trade and trade liberalisation.

- The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is a multilateral treaty deposited with the Director-General of the FAO. Its purpose is to ensure common and effective actions to prevent the spread and introduction of pests and plants and plant products and to promote measures for their control.

- The FAO has compiled codes of practices to deal with alien species and has developed products such as the FAO Database on Introductions of Aquatic Species.

- The IMO International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (adopted in 2004) addresses the introduction of invasive marine species into new environments through ballast water, hull-fouling and other vectors.

- The CITES convention aims to prevent trade from having an impact on species by controlling movements of certain categories of endangered species. The CITES Animals and Plants Committees are working in collaboration with the CBD on the preparation of a list of potentially invasive animal and plant species to be included in the CITES appendices. The EC Regulation for the implementation of CITES within the EU provides a basis for controlling imports of certain species that are recognised as being invasive (Regulation 338/97, Article 4.6(d)).

- The ICES Code of Practice on the Introductions and Transfers of Marine Organisms sets forth recommended procedures and practices to diminish the risks of detrimental effects from the intentional introduction and transfer of marine (including brackish water) organisms (ICES, 2005).

There are opportunities for synergies between several forums and the CBD in dealing with the introductions of species that are potentially harmful for biodiversity.

On the other hand, experience gained (for example, experience gained under CITES in wildlife trade controls) could contribute to national and international efforts to avoid negative impacts on biodiversity.

Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
9. Invasive Alien Species