Forests cover 30.7 per cent of the Earth’s surface and, in addition to providing food security and shelter, they are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population. By protecting forests, we will also be able to strengthen natural resource management and increase land productivity.
At the current time, thirteen million hectares of forests are being lost every year while the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares. Even though up to 15% of land is currently under protection, biodiversity is still at risk. Deforestation and desertification – caused by human activities and climate change – pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the fight against poverty.
Efforts are being made to manage forests and combat desertification. There are two international agreements being implemented currently that promote the use of resources in an equitable way. Financial investments in support of biodiversity are also being provided.
The Lion’s Share Fund
On 21 June, 2018, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), FINCH and founding partner Mars, Incorporated, announced the Lion’s Share, an initiative aimed at transforming the lives of animals across the world by asking advertisers to contribute a percentage of their media spend to conservation and animal welfare projects. The Lion’s Share will see partners contribute 0.5 percent of their media spend to the fund for each advertisement they use featuring an animal. Those funds will be used to support animals and their habitats around the world. The Fund is seeking to raise US$100m a year within three years, with the money being invested in a range of wildlife conservation and animal welfare programs to be implemented by United Nations and civil society organizations.
- Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood, including 70 million indigenous people.
- Forests are home to more than 80 per cent 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 pool resources and are especially affected by their depletion.
- 2.6 billion people depend directly on agriculture, but 52 per cent of the land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation.
- Arable land loss 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). Within one year, 20 million tons of grain could have been grown.
- 74 per cent of the poor are directly affected by land degradation globally.
- 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.
- Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 per cent are extinct and 22 per cent are at risk of extinction.
- Of the over 80,000 tree species, less than 1 per cent have been studied for potential use.
- Fish provide 20 per cent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Only ten species provide about 30 per cent of marine capture fisheries and ten species provide about 50 per cent of aquaculture production.
- Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants. Only three cereal crops – rice, maize and wheat – provide 60 per cent of energy intake.
- As many as 80 per cent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant-‐based medicines for basic healthcare.
- Micro-organisms and invertebrates are key to ecosystem services, but their contributions are still poorly known and rarely acknowledged.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
15.A Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems
15.B Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation
15.C Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities
As resistance to antibiotics grows, the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched the latest stage of its campaign to fight this deadly health risk – likened by the agency to an “invisible pandemic”– with the launch of a new online tool for health professionals on Tuesday.
Some 2.2 billion people around the world do not have safely-managed drinking water, while 4.2 billion go without safe sanitation services and three billion lack basic handwashing facilities, according to a new report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Tackling climate change, one bite at a time, UN enlists chefs to lead in campaign for sustainable food
Chefs from around the world will help support the United Nations's ActNow campaign by kicking off a food challenge on June 18, Sustainable Gastronomy Day. The Challenge aims to engage people in the global effort to tackle climate change through healthy and sustainable food choices.