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ISC and its partners organised the 9th edition of the Science Summit around the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) on 12-29 September 2023.
The role and contribution of science to attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be the central theme of the Summit. The objective is to develop and launch science collaborations to demonstrate global science mechanisms and activities to support the attainment of the UN SDGs, Agenda 2030 and Local2030. The meeting will also prepare input for the United Nations Summit of the Future, which will take place during UNGA79 beginning on 12 September 2024.
avatar for Helia Marchante

Helia Marchante

Escola Superior Agrária, Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra
Adjunt Professor
Coimbra - Portugal
I am a biologist and my research focuses on the ecology of invasive plants. I am a lecturer at the School of Agriculture of the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, where my main teaching areas are Biology, Botany, Dendrology, Invasive Species Management and Conservation Biology; I also do research at the Centre for Functional Ecology-Science for People & the Planet where I regularly participate in projects on invasive plants, including topics such as impact assessment, management of invaded areas and biological control, among others. I am also involved in consulting with different stakeholders, science communication, environmental awareness and citizen science projects - always focused on invasive plants.


Biological Control of invasive alien plants in Europe & South American – so many opportunities to share and so many challenges. 
Marchante, Hélia1 & Marchante, Elizabete2
1Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Coimbra Agriculture School, Bencanta, 3045-601 Coimbra, Portugal
2Centre for Functional Ecology, Associate Laboratory TERRA, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Calçada Martim de Freitas, 3000-456, Coimbra, Portugal.

Biological invasions are a global threat leading to biodiversity loss, habitat degradation and significant economic costs. The recent IPBES.2023 summary on the assessment of invasive alien species (IAS) emphasizes that the management of IAS is mandatory and urgent. It also recognizes biological control (BC) as one of the methods to be used, being successful against invasive alien plants (IAP) (and invertebrates) in more than 60% of cases, with 1/3 of the targets not requiring other forms of control. In the case of IAPs, this is true in some parts of the world! Others, such as Europe and South America, despite being the source/affected by many IAP (including natives in South America and invasives in Europe and vice versa), and having specialists working for other regions, seem to "resist" the methodology. However, invasive species are increasingly damaging, and "traditional" methods are neither sufficient nor sustainable. Some of these IAPs are the targets of good CB agents (CBA) used in other parts of the world and this can also be explored. In 2010, Europe introduced the first BCA against an IAP, in the UK, followed by three more, including one in Portugal and one in the Netherlands. BC is slowly increasing in Europe, but not yet in South America. The next agents will possibly be against aquatic IAPs from South America that are causing many negative impacts in Europe: Pontederia crassipes, Ludwigia peploides subsp. montevidensis, L. grandiflora and Myriophyllum aquaticum are some of the likely targets. Natural enemies against Azolla filliculoides and Cortaderia selloana, other South American IAPs, have been identified in several European countries (Stenopelmus rufinasus for Azolla) and in the Iberian Peninsula (Spanolepis selloanae for Cortaderia), following accidental introductions. The sharing of agents between different hemispheres, such as Europe and South America, may have its own challenges (e.g., phenological mismatch), but they are worth tackling.