International Biodiversity Day sounds the alarm on invasive species

International Biodiversity Day, celebrated each year on May 22, pays tribute to the global importance of biodiversity, both as an asset for posterity and a vital resource for people and their livelihoods.

Alien Invasive Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) which has spread around the entire tropics and is now moving north into southern Europe as Climate Change makes conditions suitable for it.

This year, International Biodiversity Day focuses on alien invasive species as major threats to biodiversity. Biological invasions are the result of species that are introduced to a new ecosystem in which they are not indigenous. They often cause great harm to their new environments.

These invasions are high on the list of current threats to biodiversity, ecosystems, species and the protected areas which support them. This has knock-on effects on the livelihoods of people that depend on them for their survival.

“The impact of alien invasive species is increasing both in the sea and on land, particularly with global change brought about by climate change,” says Jane Smart, Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group. “We all need to be aware of this link and consider it in our many activities to combat climate change.”

The IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) is a network of leading specialists who provide technical advice to policy makers. The ISSG manages the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) and disseminate the most current and reliable information on invasive species ecology, their impacts on biological diversity and ways to prevent and control their spread. The GISD is recognized globally as a key resource by our many partners in conservation action against invasive species.

The 2009 International Biodiversity Day marks the start of the celebrations around biodiversity that will intensify as we get closer to 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity. 2010 will be a very important year for biodiversity conservation.

The United Nations General Assembly will host a special session on biodiversity and the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will meet on several occasions during the year culminating in its 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties.

Other biodiversity-related processes, like the discussions around the development of an Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the advancement of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity study, will support and strengthen conservation work.

Many eyes will be looking closely at these processes and it is expected that by the time of the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in October, governments and stakeholders will have made up their minds about new biodiversity targets to replace the 2010 biodiversity target.

Work area: 
Global Policy
Marine Invasive species
Climate Change
Invasive species
North America
North America
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