International cooperation in the solution to trade-related invasive species risks

Charles Perrings, Stas Burgiel, Mark Lonsdale, Harold Mooney, Mark Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


In this paper, we consider the factors behind the growth of invasive species as a global problem, and the scope for international cooperation and coordination in addressing that problem. This is limited by the terms of the various international agreements governing trade, health, and biodiversity. The default strategy in most cases has two parts: border protection and the control of or adaptation to introduced species that have escaped detection at the border. Most invasive species policy involves unilateral national defensive action as opposed to coordinated international action. We argue that an important part of the solution to the problem lies in global coordination and cooperation in the management of both pathways and sanitary and phytosanitary risks at all scales. More particularly, because invasive species are an externality of trade, transport, and travel that involve public goods, they require collective regulation of international markets that goes beyond that admitted under the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. We argue that it is important to bring that agreement into conformity with the International Health Regulations (IHR), and to develop an international mechanism to generate and disseminate information on invasive species risks and their impacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-212
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - May 2010


  • International agreements
  • Invasive species
  • Trade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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