International actions to combat the threat posed by invasive alien species (IAS) to crops and biodiversity have intensified in recent years. The formulation of 15 guiding principles on IAS by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) stimulated the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) to review its role in protecting biodiversity. IPPC standards now demonstrate clearly that the risks posed by any organism that is directly or indirectly injurious to cultivated or uncultivated plants can be assessed and managed under the IPPC. Since the IPPC, unlike the CBD, constitutes an international legal instrument recognised by the World Trade Organization, greater protection from the introduction of IAS is now available. However, phytosanitary measures can only be enacted if they can be justified by risk analysis and we outline some novel strategies to improve the assessment and management of the risks posed by IAS, highlighting some of the key challenges which remain.