BiodivERsA, a network of research-funding agencies across Europe, recently published a policy brief on wildlife diseases to inform the European Union. The brief was distributed at a conference in the European Parliament organized last month by the EP Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development. The Amphibian Survival Alliance was invited earlier this year to participate in a stakeholder meeting in Brussels that included officers from the European Commission, and then on to participate in the drafting of this brief.
The policy brief highlights the increase of severe infections diseases that are affecting wildlife due to the globalization of trade, which results in increased mobility of pathogens and invasive species. The brief uses Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) to illustrate the issue: based on results from the Biodiversa-funded RACE-project, it emphasises that Bd is already present in at least 17 EU countries, and suggests that movement of amphibians between continents for trade purposes is one of the major causes for Bd spread around the world.
The document recommends the development and adoption of adequate policy action to address the issue of increasing spread of wildlife diseases in Europe, and mentions several specific EU and international policies that can contribute to address this problem, such as the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, the upcoming EU legislation on Invasive Alien Species, and the EU Habitats Directive. It also recommends better coordination of measures tackling wildlife epidemics, and also between the institutions in charge of the different policies mentioned in the text.