The draft order relating to the prevention and handling of the introduction and propagation of exotic invasive species was adopted unanimously on Tuesday night through to Wednesday morning in a full session of the Wallonia parliament. Whether plants or animals, the number of invasive exotic species has grown significantly since the beginning of the 19th century, mainly due to the actions of man. It has increased to the point where it now constitutes a threat to native species and consequently to biodiversity. To avoid and lessen the harmful effects of these species, the European Commission adopted a resolution on January 1, 2015, defining a series of preventative and remedial measures, including bans on importation, marketing, holding and breeding.
At the Belgian level, a cooperation agreement was adopted in the same year at an inter-ministerial conference. It aims to guarantee, through the creation of a national scientific secretarial department, a broad-based and coherent approach regarding the fight to prevent the importation of invasive exotic species.
This agreement is not however enough to implement the whole of the European regulation’s prescriptions, a shortcoming that the order adopted on Tuesday remedies, the Walloon minister of agriculture, René Collin, emphasised.
This text, which provides for temporary measures for individuals, will notably enable the early detection and rapid eradication of emerging species by government services, the handling of widespread species, the restoration of ecosystems and the establishment of a device for prevention, as well as penalties.
“This order constitutes a step forward for the preservation of our environment and its biodiversity while guaranteeing a high-quality living environment for our fellow citizens. It completes the arsenal at our disposal to protect our nature,” Collin concluded.