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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 Philip Weyl

Philip Weyl

I am an entomologist with CABI where I currently lead the weed biological control section at the Swiss centre, Managing projects on 21 different weed species, working with existing biological control agents as well as developing new agents for release. Majority of our projects at the Swiss centre are for the USA and Canada, but we are also active in Australia, South Africa and more and more in Europe. I remain active in student supervision, with MSc and PhD students at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland, CBC, Rhodes University, South Africa and the University of Idaho, USA, where I am also an Affiliated Professor since 2020. CABI has Access and Benefit Sharing Champions of which I am one in Switzerland and was part of the team to develop and have the Swiss centre best practice approved by the Federal Office of Environment (BAFU). I also serve on the International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) Global Commission on biological control and ABS.

Rust fungi for the biological control of weeds in Latin America, keeping a foot in the door
Philip Weyl1 Robert W. Barreto2, Heinke Jäger3 and Marion K. Seier4
1CABI, Delemont, Switzerland
2Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Departamento de Fitopatologia, Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil
3Charles Darwin Research Station, Fundación Charles Darwin, Santa Cruz, Galápagos, Ecuador
4CABI, Egham, Surrey, UK
Invasive alien plants (IAP) can pose a serious threat to food security, biodiversity, human and animal health and economic development, globally. Management of these species is imperative to limit the impact they have on the environment and economy. Once IAPs  become broadly established, conventional options such as relying on herbicides and mechanical methods  may prove expensive and unsustainable. Classical biological control (CBC) is known to offer the most cost effective and the sole sustainable option and should be considered an essential part of the integrated management strategy for invasive weeds. CBC relies on reuniting specialist natural enemies from the native range with the respective weed host in its invasive range. In order for this to happen in a safe way, many years of research are conducted and once an agent is found and deemed safe for release a pest risk analysis(PRA) is submitted in order to obtain a permit for release. Although still poorly explored in Latin America, there have been some successful experiences CBC of weeds. These will be mentioned. Two initiatives are currently underway for two target weeds- firstly, rubber vine (Cryptostegia madagascariensis) – known in the invaded area in Brazil as  ‘unha-do-diabo’ (devil’s claw) and Rubus niveus mora silvestre, (wild raspberry) in Galápagos (Ecuador). The initiative for Brazil is piggybacking on the successful use of the rust Maravalia cryptostegiae to control C. grandiflora in Australia while for R. niveus field surveys are still being conducted to identify the most virulent rust species and strains for the weed biotype which is invasive in Galapagos. Once the safety of any selected agent has been demonstrated through host-range testing, the regulatory processes in the respective two countries for the introduction of the selected agent are still to be addressed. This presentation gives an overview of the research completed, thus far, and discusses the excellent past record of rust fungi as CBC agents for weeds and their suitability for introduction into both Brazil and the Ecuador. These will possibly be the first examples of CBC of IAP implemented in these countries which may open the door for additional CBC projects in the future.