News Release

Biological invasions: a growing threat to biodiversity

10 May 2012
IUCN Expert on invasive species, Dr. Geoffrey Howard, monitors the growth of invasive water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) at the edge of Lake Tanganyika in Burundi. Photo: IUCN / Geoffrey Howard

Biological invasions: a growing threat to biodiversity, human health and food security. Policy recommendations for the Rio+20 process drafted by IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group and IUCN's Invasive Species Initiative.

Planet Under Pressure 2012 was the largest gathering of global change scientists leading up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) with a total of 3,018 delegates at the conference venue and over 3,500 that attended virtually via live webstreaming. The first State of the Planet Declaration was issued at the conference.

Following the conference and declaration several ISSG members were concerned with the limited attention being paid to the issue of biological invasions and invasive alien species in the Rio+20 process. Members proposed the development and submission of a policy paper highlighting the growing threat of biological invasions on biodiversity, human health and food security for the Rio+20 process.

After extensive consultation with the membership, the ISSG with the IUCN's Invasive Species Intitiative (ISI) developed and submitted a policy brief related to biologival invasions and invasive alien species to the IUCN. This brief will be included in the IUCN documentation for Rio+20 and text be reflected in the umbrella position paper (which will form the basis of IUCN’s statement to the Rio+20 conference).

The Rio+20 Conference will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from is June 20 to 22, 2012, in order to mark the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also called the “Rio Earth Summit”. The conference will focus on two themes: 1) a Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and 2) the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development.

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