Biodiversity’s Role

Biodiversity is crucial to the reduction of poverty, due to the basic goods and ecosystem services it provides. Globally, some 2.6 billion people worldwide draw their livelihoods either partially or fully from agriculture. More than 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity, while over 1.6 billion rely on forests and non-timber forest products. Loss of biodiversity poses a significant threat to their livelihoods. Biodiversity must therefore be protected and sustainably used for achieving poverty reduction and sustainable development.

Biodiversity and the SDGs

To learn more about how the important role that biodiversity plays in achieving each of the 17 global sustainable development goals (SDGs), explore the SDG-Biodiversity Toolbox. For guidance on how to include biodiversity in Voluntary National Reviews, see the Secretariat’s 'Biodiversity and the VNRs' Guidance Note.

Biodiversity Guidance for Voluntary National Reviews to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

The SDG-Biodiversity Toolbox

Ecosystem services: linking biodiversity and sustainable development

In order to link biodiversity considerations with poverty eradication and sustainable development, the environmental community and the stakeholders who specifically deal with the economic and social dimensions of development need a common framework, a common language. The concept of “ecosystem services” provides such a language as it describes “the benefits people obtain from ecosystems."

Ecosystem services include provisioning services such as food and water; regulating services such as flood and disease control; cultural services such as spiritual, recreational, and cultural benefits; and supporting services such as nutrient cycling that maintain the conditions for life on Earth. To learn more about the language of ecosystem services visit the website of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).

Decisions and Information on Biodiversity and Sustainable Development

Meetings on Biodiversity and Sustainable Development

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme