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Attachment 8 workshop 1

Terms of Reference, CEP Regional Invasive Species Advisory Group, Baku, Azerbaijan


At the Second Biodiversity Meeting, organized by the CEP in July 2000 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the participants from the Caspian Countries discussed the issue of biological invasions and effects of exotic species in the Caspian Sea. The participants stressed the importance of further investigation of problems caused by introduced species, particularly in light of recent discovery of ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi (comb jelly) in the Caspian Sea. National Experts recommended to the CEP to establish a special Working Group of world-recognized experts in this field to thorough investigate the problem. In line with this recommendation, a meeting was organized on 24/25/26 April 2001 to review the problem of opportunistic settlers (with specific attention to Mnemiopsis) in the Caspian Sea and advise on possible course of actions.

The participants of the meeting agreed that the situation with Mnemiopsis in the Caspian Sea in 2000 was serious. They agreed that there is a strong need for more information on the distribution of Mnemiopsis in the Caspian Sea and its ecosystem impacts. They stressed an acute need for additional data of permanent monitoring of Mnemiopsis in the Caspian Sea, a laboratory study of Mnemiopsis’ predatory impact on the zooplankton in the Caspian Sea and an estimation of the capacity of the ctenophore Beroe ovata to serve as biological control agent for Mnemiopsis. They also recommended for the Caspian Environment Programme to establish the special Regional Advisory Group, comprised by the Mnemiopsis experts from the Caspian states and nominated by the CEP National Focal Points. Development of theAction plan for implementation y the Caspian countries, with assistance from the Caspian Environment Programme at the initial stage, was suggested to be the main goal of this Advisory Group.

It was decided at the first workshop of the CEP Regional Mnemiopsis Advisory Group to enlarge the limits of responsibility of this group and to transform it into the CEP Regional Invasive Species Advisory Group. The main reasons for this are: increasing rate of alien species introductions in the Caspian Sea region, specifically associated with ships' traffic via Volga-Don waterway; high risk of new introductions of harmful organisms, considering future increase of ships' traffic, specifically oil tankers, into the Ponto-Caspian region; and significance of the Ponto-Caspian region as a donor of invasive species worldwide.


Regional Invasive Species Advisory Group (RISAG) consists of five permanent members, nominated by each Caspian Sea country. Additional regional and international experts can be included temporary to the RISAG upon necessity. Prof. H. Dumont will function as an independent international consultant liaising with the Group on behalf of the CEP.

Tasks of the RISAG members are:

  • Develop relevant regional recommendations, guidance, strategy, and management plans
  • Meet at least twice per year and convene extraordinary meetings if and when the needs arises
  • Network with national and international institutions and specialists in respective area
  • Develop the Mnemiopsis Action Plan and update it on the regular basis in accordance with the situation
  • Supervise development and maintenance of the regional monitoring and information network on invasive species including Mnemiopsis Regional Database
  • Formulate the proposals for national and regional actions
  • Communicate the proposals of the advisory group to the competent National authorities and where necessary seek the appropriate authorization to implement national & regional actions
  • Facilitate regional information exchange and dissemination, education, and public awareness programs

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