By Carolina Torres Trueba, International Legal and Administrative Manager, Island Conservation

Invasive alien species (IAS) pose a major global threat to nature, economies, food security and human health. According to findings published by IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) in the first global assessment report on IAS and their control, these species have played a major role in 60% of recorded extinctions worldwide and are causing more than US$423 billion annually in estimated losses to the global economy. These costs have at least quadrupled every decade since 1970.

Compiled by 86 experts from 49 countries over the course of four and a half years, the report sheds light on the catastrophic and growing harm caused by IAS to biodiversity and human wellbeing. Island ecosystems are confirmed to be particularly vulnerable, with 90% of global extinctions on islands mainly attributed to IAS.