Biodiversity for Sustainable Development

SDG 15

Contributions of Biodiversity to SDG 15: Life on Land

The conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems is essential for sustainable development and for achieving SDG 15. Target 15.9 of this goal include a call to integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local development planning, poverty reduction strategies and accounts. Other targets highlight the importance of particular ecosystems, including freshwater, forests, deserts and degraded lands, and mountain ecosystems.

Forests cover around 30% of the Earth’s land area, containing 80% of terrestrial biomass and providing habitat for over half of the world’s known terrestrial plant and animal species. Although the net annual rate of forest loss has slowed down over the past decades, it is still a matter of concern because the loss is occurring in areas with particularly high ecological value. While there is a marked increase in protected areas over the past century, many key biodiversity areas are not adequately covered by protected area status. Globally there are more than a billion hectares of deforested and degraded forest land that could be restored, a vast area with the potential to enrich biodiversity and improve ecosystem functions. SDG 15 also addresses biodiversity in the inland water through sustaining ecosystems and ecosystem services such as water flows and water quality, which are critical for many life stages of aquatic and migratory species in particular.

A number of targets contained under this goal relate to other SDGs. For example, Target 15.9 refers to poverty reduction strategies and is therefore relevant to SDG 1, and Target 15.6 relates to Target 2.5 on genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals.

Ecosystem approaches to farming and grazing that foster biodiversity in soil microorganisms and soil macro- and microfauna promote and maintain the soil’s physical and ecological health, thus preventing its erosion, while preserving and rebuilding soil fertility.

Related SDG 15 Targets

  • SDG Target 15.1: By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements (related to Aichi Targets: 4, 5, 7, 11, 14, 15)
  • SDG Target 15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally (related to Aichi Targets: 4, 5, 7, 14, 15)
  • SDG Target 15.3: By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world (related to Aichi Targets: 4, 5, 15)
  • SDG Target 15.4: By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development (related to Aichi Targets: 11, 14, 15)
  • SDG Target 15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species (related to Aichi Targets: 5, 12)
  • SDG Target 15.6: Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed (related to Aichi Targets: 16)
  • SDG Target 15.7: Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products (related to Aichi Targets: 12)
  • SDG Target 15.8: By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species (related to Aichi Targets: 9)
  • SDG Target 15.9: By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts (related to Aichi Targets: 2)

Relevant Aichi Biodiversity Targets
Biodiversity values integrated
Sustainable production and consumption
Habitat loss halved or reduced
Sustainable agriculture aquaculture and forestry
Invasive alien species prevented and controlled
Protected areas
Reducing risk of extinction
Ecosystem services
Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Access to and sharing benefits from genetic resources

Related Resources