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| Goal 15: Manage forests sustainably, fight desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

The COVID-19 outbreak highlights the need to address the threats facing wildlife and ecosystems.

In 2016, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) warned that the global increase in zoonotic epidemics was a cause for concern. Specifically, he noted that 75% of all new infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic and that these diseases are closely related to ecosystem health.

“With COVID-19, the planet has sent out its biggest alert yet, indicating that humanity must change,” explained UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

In Working with the Environment to Protect People, UNEP details how to “build back better” through stronger science, policies that contribute to a healthier planet and more green investments.

UNEP's response addresses four areas:

  1. Help nations manage COVID-19 medical waste.

  2. Bring about transformative change for nature and people.

  3. Work to ensure economic recovery packages build resilience for future crises.

  4. Modernize environmental governance around the world.

To prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems around the world, the United Nations declared the Decade for Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) . This globally coordinated response to habitat loss and degradation will focus on developing political will and the capacity to restore human relationships with nature. Likewise, it is a direct response to the warning of science, expressed in the Special Report on Climate and Terrestrial Change of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change, to the decisions taken by all Member States of the United Nations. the Rio conventions on climate change and biodiversity and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

Work continues on an ambitious new post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

As the world responds to and recovers from the current pandemic, a solid plan to protect nature will be needed so that nature can protect humanity.


Nature is vital to our survival: nature provides us with oxygen, regulates our climate systems, pollinates our crops and produces our food, feed and fiber. However, it is under increasing pressure. Human activity has altered nearly 75% of the Earth's surface and has pushed wild flora, fauna and nature into a shrinking corner of the planet.

Nearly one million species of animals and plants are in danger of extinction (many of them in the coming decades), according to the 2019 Global Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Assessment Report. nature. Likewise, it has been found that the health of the ecosystems we depend on, like the rest of species, is deteriorating faster than ever, which is affecting the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life around the world.

Deforestation and desertification (caused​​ by human activities and climate change) pose serious challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Forests are vitally important to sustaining life on Earth and play a key role in the fight against climate change. The State of World Forests 2020 highlights that, since 1990, around 420 million hectares of trees have disappeared in favor of agriculture and other land uses. Investing in land restoration is crucial to improving livelihoods and reducing vulnerabilities and risks to the economy.

The health of our planet also plays an important role in the emergence of zoonotic diseases, that is, diseases that are transmitted between animals and humans. As we continue to encroach on fragile ecosystems, we increasingly come into contact with wildlife, allowing pathogens in wildlife to spread to livestock and humans, increasing the risk of disease and amplification.


| Notable Data  



  • About 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods, including 70 million indigenous people.

  • Forests are home to more than 80% of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.

  • Between 2010 and 2015, the world lost 3.3 million hectares of forest areas. Poor rural women depend on common resources and are particularly affected by their depletion.

  • desertification

  • 2.6 billion people are directly dependent on agriculture, but 52% of land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by land degradation.

  • The loss of arable land​​ is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate
    Due to drought and desertification, 12 million hectares are lost each year (23 hectares per minute). In one year, 20 million tons of grain could have been cultivated.

  • 74% of the poor are directly affected by land degradation worldwide.

  • Biodiversity

  • Poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking continue to frustrate conservation efforts, with nearly 7,000 species of animals and plants reported as part of the illegal trade in 120 countries.

  • Of the 8,300 known animal breeds, 8% are extinct and 22% are in danger of extinction.

  • Of more than 80,000 tree species, less than 1 percent have been studied for possible use.

  • Fish provide 20% of animal protein for about 3 billion people. Only ten species provide around 30% of marine capture fisheries and ten species provide around 50% of aquaculture production.

  • More than 80% of the human diet is made up of plants. Just three cereal crops (rice, corn and wheat) provide 60% of energy consumption.

  • Approximately 80 percent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional herbal medicines for basic health care.

  • Microorganisms and invertebrates are essential for ecosystem services, but their contributions are still poorly understood and rarely recognized.

| Goal 15

15.1  By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of inland terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and the services they provide, in particular forests, swamps, mountains and arid areas, in line with obligations under international agreements

15.2  By 2020, promote sustainable management of all types of forests, end deforestation, restore degraded forests and increase afforestation and reforestation globally

15.3  By 2030, combat desertification, rehabilitate degraded lands and soils, including lands affected by desertification, drought and floods, and fight for a land neutral world

15.4  By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biological diversity, in order to increase their ability to provide essential benefits for sustainable development

15.5  Take urgent and meaningful measures to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biological diversity and, by 2020, protect threatened species and prevent their extinction

15.6  Promote the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from the use of genetic resources and promote adequate access to these resources, as internationally agreed

15.7  Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking in protected species of flora and fauna and meet the demand and supply of illegal wildlife products

15.8  By 2020, take measures to prevent the introduction of invasive alien species and significantly reduce their effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and control or eradicate priority species

15.9  By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounting

15th  Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems

15.b  Mobilize a significant amount of resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to promote such management, in particular with a view to conservation and reforestation

15.c  Increase global support for the fight against poaching and trafficking in protected species, in particular by increasing the capacity of local communities to promote sustainable livelihood opportunities

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