European Sustainable Development Week Events on SDG 15: Life on Land

Out of the over 6,200 events that will be taking place all over Europe during the ESDW 2019, 1,626 events currently address SDG 15: Life on Land, which seeks to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Out of the over 6,200 events that will be taking place all over Europe during the ESDW 2019, 1,626 events currently address SDG 15: Life on Land, which seeks to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

SDG 15 aims to:

  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.
  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 globall.
  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 worl.
  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 developmen.
  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.
  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 agree.
  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 product.
  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 specie.
  9. By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and account.

Progress being made towards achieving SDG 15

  • Protection of forest and terrestrial ecosystems is on the rise, and forest loss has slowed. That said, other facets of terrestrial conservation continue to demand accelerated action to protect biodiversity, land productivity and genetic resources and to curtail the loss of species.
    • The Earth’s forest areas continue to shrink, down from 4.1 billion hectares in 2000 (or 31.2 per cent of total land area) to about 4 billion hectares (30.7 per cent of total land area) in 2015. However, the rate of forest loss has been cut by 25 per cent since 2000–2005.
    • About one fifth of the Earth’s land surface covered by vegetation showed persistent and declining trends in productivity from 1999 to 2013, threatening the livelihoods of over one billion people. Up to 24 million square kilometres of land were affected, including 19 per cent of cropland, 16 per cent of forest land, 19 per cent of grassland and 28 per cent of rangeland.
    • Since 1993, the global Red List Index of threatened species has fallen from 0.82 to 0.74, indicating an alarming trend in the decline of mammals, birds, amphibians, corals and cycads. The primary drivers of this assault on biodiversity are habitat loss from unsustainable agriculture, deforestation, unsustainable harvest and trade, and invasive alien species.
    • Illicit poaching and trafficking of wildlife continues to thwart conservation efforts, with nearly 7,000 species of animals and plants reported in illegal trade involving 120 countries.
    • In 2016, bilateral ODA in support of biodiversity totalled $7 billion, a decrease of 21 per cent in real terms from 2015.

To find out  more about the ESDW Events dealing with SDG 15: Life on Land, please visit the Activities section on the ESDW website.

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