Namibian Invasive Alien Species Working Group


The Namibian Invasive Alien Species Working Group (NIASWG) was established in 2022 as a collaborative effort between the Namibian government and non-governmental partners in response to the increasing threats caused by invasive alien plant species in Namibia.

Invasive alien plants and animals are one of the five major threats to global biodiversity and also cost global economies hundreds of billions of dollars each year. These are defined as non-indigenous species that adapt well to conditions where they are introduced and then spread or flourish rapidly, often in the absence of their natural enemies. If nothing is done to reduce the spread or eradicate these species, they can take over large pieces of agricultural and protected land, cause disease or injuries to both livestock and wildlife, negatively affect indigenous plants and animals, and ultimately damage native ecosystems.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), under Goal 15 “Life on Land”, requires member states to, "by 2020, introduce measures to prevent and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species." Namibia's Second National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2013-2022 (NBSAP2), under Goal 8, directs that, "by 2018, priority measures are in place to control and manage the impact of invasive alien species in Namibia".

Invasive alien species, both plants and animals, are of considerable concern in Namibia. They have a significant negative impact on indigenous biodiversity, agricultural production and sense of place. The numbers of invasive alien species in Namibia are increasing, as are population ranges and densities. Despite the introduction of alien species into local ecosystems requiring an Environmental Clearance Certificate under the Environmental Management Act of 2007, in practice there is little control and monitoring of alien species entering the country, being sold, distributed and propagated. The situation regarding invasive aliens is largely unregulated in Namibia. Recent actions to control and monitor invasive alien plants have been driven largely by civil society. Most of the work until now has focused on controlling plant species, since these are currently a bigger problem for Namibia than the animal species.

Winning the battle against invasive alien species requires a multi-pronged plan of action that involves the public, government, and non-governmental partners. The importance of addressing the growing problem of invasive alien species in Namibia and its increasing urgency prompted a group of ecologists and environmentally concerned individuals, from both government (central and local) and civil society to come together for a brainstorming meeting to discuss and debate the issue and to develop a prioritised Action Plan. The four main prongs of this Action Plan are:

  1. Prevent the import of potentially invasive alien species into Namibia;
  2. Stop the spread of existing invasive alien species within Namibia;
  3. Actively manage, control and, where possible, eliminate existing invasive alien species within Namibia;
  4. Establish an inclusive institutional mechanism to collectively implement the above Plan.

Visit the Action Plan tab to learn more.

Salvinia molesta. Photo C Mannheimer
Cryptostegia grandiflora. Photo C Mannheimer
Psittacula krameri. Photo: Bernard Spragg (public domain)
Acridotheres tristis. Photo: Neil Strickland (public domain)