Three leading global experts were on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 announced as the co-chairs of a new and somewhat important assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), of existing knowledge regarding invasive alien species and their control.
Professors Helen Roy MBE (United Kingdom), Aníbal Pauchard (Chile) and Peter Stoett (Canada) will head a team of more than 70 expert authors, to be selected from a large pool of nominations, by the end of June this year.
Invasive alien species were identified, just weeks ago in the landmark IPBES Global Assessment Report, as one of the top five global culprits driving negative change in nature around the world – with numbers having risen by 70% since 1970 across 21 countries.
Once completed, the new three-year assessment will offer governments and decision-makers at all levels the best available evidence on the array of invasive alien species; their impacts on biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people – especially to health and livelihoods; how and why they spread; levels of public awareness; as well as the effectiveness of current control measures and options for further policy and action.
Welcoming the announcement of the three co-chairs, Dr. Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary of IPBES, said: “The overwhelming coverage and impact of the IPBES Global Assessment Report has demonstrated that there is renewed concern, understanding and commitment to action to reduce and reverse the destruction of nature at every level.
“The three eminent scientists who have been chosen to lead this new IPBES assessment will have the opportunity to seize this momentum and to build on it in the context of the new post-2020 framework for biodiversity that will be adopted in China next year by the Governments of the world – at the 2020 UN Biodiversity Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity.”
The IPBES technical support unit for the assessment is hosted in Tokyo, Japan by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and supported by the Ministry of the Environment of the Government of Japan.
Noriko Moriwake, Head of the technical support unit, said: “Our team is greatly excited to support the co-chairs and other experts who will be selected. This work will offer critical new insights and options to underpin innovative policy with cutting-edge science and data.”
The first author meeting of the assessment is planned for August 2019 in Japan – with a first draft expected to be ready for open expert review in 2020.
Aníbal Pauchard is Professor at the Faculty of Forestry Sciences at the University of Concepción in Chile. He is also Researcher in the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity as well as the Founder and Director of the Laboratory of Biological Invasions.
Helen Roy is an Individual Merit Scientist and Group Leader at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in the United Kingdom. Her research focuses on using large-scale and long-term datasets to assess the dynamics of invasive alien species and their effects on biodiversity and ecosystems.
Peter Stoett is Dean and Professor at the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, at Ontario Tech University in Canada. His main areas of expertise include international relations and law, global environmental politics, biodiversity conservation, and human rights.