Last month, a series of online workshops were conducted to enable policy makers, on ground practitioners, researchers, NGOs and industry group representatives to come together to further refine and develop the next iteration of the National Environment and Community Biosecurity RD&E Strategy, which is being led through the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions.
The revised Strategy, which was last endorsed in March 2016, is aiming to maximise the benefits of further collaboration between the sectors and will be set between 2021-2026.
Six sector-based focus groups and one interest group-based focus group (eNGOs and ecological researchers) were held online between the 9-11th February 2021. These focus groups explored what environmental and community biosecurity means to each sector and how the strategy can best address gaps and improve biosecurity capability.
The discussion from these sessions was then fed into a larger interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral workshop that was held on the 25th of February 2021 with over 100 participants.
This workshop focused on developing the revised strategy, aiming to achieve cross-sectoral benefit and complement other biosecurity RD&E strategies as well as identify RD&E needs that are unique to the environment and community.
Dr Matt Sheehan, National Coordinator of the Strategy said there was strong support for the actions of this plan to focus on national coordination to encourage innovation, collaboration and adoption of biosecurity technologies and capabilities across sectors, and to communicate funding priorities to government, industry and philanthropic organisations.
“The need for a greater focus on social research was identified, as well as a broadening of what is covered under ‘extension’.
“There was also a need to strengthen the link between biodiversity and biosecurity,” Dr Sheehan said.
The forums supported the working groups previous recommendation that common actions across all national RDE actions need to be identified, with the development of a joint implementation plan and joint coordination to address these.
Despite the diversity of participants, there was an absence from some groups including ecological researchers, the human health sector, and indigenous groups.
As such, more targeted one-on-one consultation with these interest groups will be undertaken in the coming months as the draft is developed.
Project updates will be provided via the project profile as it progresses – https://invasives.com.au/research/environmental-biosecurity-rde-coordination/