A regional workshop for European and Central Asian countries was held in Hungary in June 2015 to promote the implementation of phytosanitary standards in forestry and other forest health activities in the region. Participants highlighted increased threats to forests in Europe and Central Asia posed by the movement and establishment of forest invasive species, which is also exacerbated by climate change.

Combatting forest invasive species in the region is hampered by a lack of information and its dissemination. Workshop participants identified the need for a network or “platform” where scientists, managers and policy-makers can share information and experiences and coordinate forest invasive species activities and programmes within the region and beyond. Establishing information exchange networks and working groups on forest invasive species help to raise awareness, develop databases, facilitate exchange of information and strengthen institutional capacity in the respective region.

To initiate the establishment of a suitable platform, the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia organized a “Forest Invasive Species in Europe and Central Asia” meeting in Minsk, Belarus from 6-7 September 2016. Representatives from many countries of Europe and Central Asia came together to tackle the shared problem of forest invasive species. The main objective of this meeting was to kick-off a functional network to foster integrated and dynamic forest pest management in the region and provide baseline data for informed decision-making.