IUCN SSC Provides Recommendations on Biological Invasions to Rio+20
17 May 2012: In a new policy brief, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) discusses the threat of invasive species to food security, human health and biodiversity. In the interest of more stringent policies on invasive alien species (IAS), the brief issues recommendations to decision makers at the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).
The IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group through the Invasive Species Initiative highlights that IAS are a leading and rapidly growing threat to food security, human and animal health, and biodiversity. The Group also notes that they are, along with climate change, one of the most difficult to reverse. According to an IUCN analysis of Red List data, IAS were highlighted to be the fifth most severe threat to amphibians, and third most severe threat to birds and mammals. They also affect food security, damaging fisheries and inflicting pre-harvest yield losses. This concern is heightened by the discovery of a new strain of wheat stem rust (Puccinia graminis) that caused an epidemic in Uganda.
According to the brief, limited awareness of the issue undermines effective action, and it is important to inform and educate the public, as well as decision makers, to enforce more stringent policies on IAS. Therefore, key recommendations for the UNCSD include: awareness raising; prevention by building risk mitigation of IAS into the assessment of activities under a green economy; early warning and rapid response; and eradication and control. [Publication: Biological invasions: a growing threat to biodiversity, human health and food security]