Review of SDGs implementation: SDG 15 – 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 specifically calls on the international community to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems,sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”. Although SDG 15 can be narrowly perceived as primarily environmental, it is in fact a critical measure of overall progress against the 2030 Agenda, as well as a key enabler of many other goals and targets. It is central to providing environmental support services critical to ensuring, amongst others,safe and sustainable water supplies and mitigating climate change. Importantly, it is also central to the lives and well-being of many indigenous communities, pastoralists and others traditionally viewed as excluded, marginalized or at risk of being left behind.

An examination of progress towards individual SDG 15 targets should be data driven and focused. It should also take into account obstacles, challenges, enablers and interlinkages through various crosscutting lenses deriving from social and economic dimensionssuch assustainable livelihoods, migration, land tenure, empowerment of rural women and smallholder producers, urban-rural linkages, climate change, valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, the rights and knowledge of indigenous peoples, insecurity and governance, as well as the 2030 Agenda principles of inclusion, interdependence and leaving no one behind.

Governments and other actors seeking to implement the SDG 15 targets, especially those with 2020 deadlines, will need accelerators—including in the realms of public and private finance, capacity, science and technology— in order to be successful.

Proposed guiding questions:

  • How can we change the narrative of how we approach SDG15 to capture a more holistic accounting of the value of nature and its ecosystems, and what role can governments play?
  • How can we improve the indicator set used to track progress towards SDG 15, given that several are Tier III and others Tier II?
  • What are the evidence-based conservation solutions – including recent scientific and technological advances as well as effective community management and partnerships – that deliver genuine impact and can be scaled up or replicated for success?
  • Which are the most critical interlinkages with other goals and targets in terms of co-benefits or trade-offs? How can they be leveraged towards progress?
  • Who are the furthest behind and who is at risk of being left behind for this SDG?

Chair:

  • H.E. Mr. Jerry Matthews Matjila, Vice-President of ECOSOC

Presentations:

  • Ms. Heather Page, Sustainable Development Goal Monitoring Section, Statistics Division of UN DESA

Keynote speaker:

  • Mr. Simon Levin, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Director of the Center for BioComplexity at Princeton University

Moderator:

  • Mr. Rene Castro, Assistant Director General of Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Development, FAO

Panellists:

  • Ms. Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
  • Ms. Cécile Bibiane Ndjebet, Director African Women's Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF), Cameroon
  • Mr. Roy Brouwer, Professor, Environmental Economist, Department of Economics at the University of Waterloo, Canada
  • Ms. Martha Rojas-Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention

Lead discussants:

  • Ms. Gertrude Kabusimbi Kenyangi, Executive Director, Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment, Uganda
  • Ms. Jill Blockhus, Director of International Partnerships, The Nature Conservancy
  • Mr. Chiagozie Chima Udeh, Executive Board Member, Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, Nigeria (Major Group of Children and Youth)

Followed by interactive discussion

Biographies
Dr. Anne Larigauderie
Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
Dr. Anne Larigauderie

Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

Dr. Anne Larigauderie (France) is the first Executive Secretary of IPBES, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. She was appointed by the Executive Director of UNEP in February 2014.
Anne Larigauderie received her Master’s Degree in plant molecular biology from the University of Toulouse, France, and her PhD in plant ecology, from the Université des Sciences et Techniques du Languedoc and CNRS in Montpellier, France.
As a plant ecologist, she spent ten years performing experimental and field work at different institutions looking, in particular, at how climate change will affect plant physiology and ecology in various contexts: study of gas exchange in first pilot project performing CO2 enrichment of natural ecosystems in the arctic tundra (San Diego State University, USA), of root competition for nutrients in California grasslands (University of California – Davis, USA), of responses of grass species to various scenarios of elevated CO2 and temperature (Duke University, USA), and of the adaptation of dark respiration of alpine plant species to future elevated temperatures (University of Basel, Switzerland).
She is the former Executive Director of DIVERSITAS, the international programme dedicated to biodiversity science, under the auspices of ICSU and UNESCO, which became in January 2015, a component of the new Future Earth programme for global sustainability.
In 2010, she was made "Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur" by the French Government (Ministre de l’Education et de la Recherche).

Mr. Chiagozie Chima Udeh
YOUNGO (Youth Constituency of the UNFCCC) (Major Group of Children and Youth)
Mr. Chiagozie Chima Udeh

YOUNGO (Youth Constituency of the UNFCCC) (Major Group of Children and Youth)

Chiagozie Udeh is a 23-year-old Nigerian expert on Climate policy and clean energy campaigner.
While working as TUNZA Eco-Generation ambassador from 2014 to 2017 he led climate action, students environmental education and biodiversity protection in Nigeria, continuously publishing reports on these topics.
In 2015, Udeh became Programme Coordinator for the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation which is planting trees and training children to become Climate Justice Ambassadors. Udeh later became a member of the organization’s Executive Global Board, allowing establishment of network of local clubs worldwide.
In March 2018 Udeh took active part in the launch of the “Trillion Trees” campaign in Monaco.
As part of African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU ECOSOCC) Infrastructure and Energy Cluster Committee, he coordinates the Energy thematic group and is part of Africa's (renewable) energy revolution with AFROwatt, a startup aiming to sustainably electrify rural Africa.
A Regional Focal Point for UN MGCY Oceans/SDG14 in West and Central Africa and an integral member of the Bottomlining team of YOUNGO, Udeh works as a Climate Policy and Ecology Researcher at Selonnes Consults. His recent policy brief won the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series 2018 as published by the Ecologist.

Mr. René Castro-Salazar
Assistant Director General of Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Development, FAO
Mr. René Castro-Salazar

Assistant Director General of Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Development, FAO

Mr. René Castro-Salazar is a Civil Engineer from the Universidad de Costa Rica, a Master in Public Administration and Doctor of Design degrees, both awarded by Harvard University. Mr. Castro-Salazar held several ministerial positions in Costa Rica, such as Minister of National Resources, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Environment and Energy between 1994 and 2014. Has lectured in prestigious universities such as Harvard, Tokyo, Yale, Zurich Tech, INCAE and in several other Latin American Universities. Author of articles about, policy, energy, sustainable development and climate change.
UN/FAO appointed Mr. Castro Salazar as Assistant Director-General in 2015, and he is leading the Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Department.

Mr. Roy Brouwer
Professor, Environmental Economist, Department of Economics at the University of Waterloo, Canada
Mr. Roy Brouwer

Professor, Environmental Economist, Department of Economics at the University of Waterloo, Canada

Roy Brouwer is Executive Director of the Water Institute and Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He is visiting Professor at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) in Zürich, member of the External Advisory Board of the Vienna Technical University Doctoral Program on Water Resource Systems and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Water Resources and Economics.

Mr. Simon Levin
The James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Director of the Center for BioComplexity at Princeton University
Mr. Simon Levin

The James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Director of the Center for BioComplexity at Princeton University

Simon Levin is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. He is former President of the Ecological Society of America, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the recipient of many awards, most notably the Kyoto Prize for Basic Science, the Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences, the Margalef Prize for Ecology, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and the U.S. National Medal of Science. He has mentored well more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and authored more than 600 publications.

Ms. Cécile Bibiane Ndjebet
Director of African Women's Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF), Cameroon
Ms. Cécile Bibiane Ndjebet

Director of African Women's Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF), Cameroon

Mrs. Cécile Ndjebet is an Agronomist and Social Forester by profession. Gender specialist and Women Leadership trainer and adviser; she holds a M.Sc. degree in Social forestry from Wageningen Agricultural University in The Netherlands. With 33 years of field experience, Cécile started her professional career as a Cameroonian Civil servant. In 1997, she joined the civil society Organizations. She is one of the well-known leaders of CSO REDD&CC platform in Cameroon where she is a National REDD+&CC Steering Committee Member; and Regional Coordinator of CSO REDD+&CC Platform of Central Africa. To promote women’s direct and effective participation in natural resources management in Africa, Cécile founded in 2009 the “African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF)” a regional network with 17 countries from West and Central Africa. In 2012, Cécile was elected Climate Change Champion of the Central African Commission on Forests (COMIFAC). At the international level, Cécile is an active member of The UN Women Major Group and well-known woman advocate for women’s tenure rights within global women networks such as Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA), Gender and Water Alliance (GWA), Women's Environment & Development Organization(WEDO), Women’s Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural resources management (WOCAN) and Global Women Tenure Network (GWTN). She is a Steering Committee member of The Forests Dialogue (TFD), Focal Point of the Women Major Group of the United Nations Forest Forum (UNFF), Woman Observer in the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), member of the World Bank inter-organizational reference group on Understanding forests’ contribution to poverty reductionand Africa Focal Point for International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG).

Ms. Gertrude Kabusimbi Kenyangi
Executive Director, Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment, Uganda
Ms. Gertrude Kabusimbi Kenyangi

Executive Director, Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment, Uganda

MS. GERTRUDE KENYANGI KABUSIMBI graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) from Makerere University in 1985 and a few years down the road obtained an MA (Integrated Rural Development Planning) and MA Gender Studies. For a short period after her studies she held a white collar job with a bank as a credit officer before discovering that her calling was not in air-conditioned, pristine and sanitized work environments but with the people right at the grassroots getting her hands dirty. She therefore resigned her bank job and founded Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN), where she still serves as Executive Director. She is also the Gender Focal Person for African Union of Conservationists.

Her work in conservation, human rights and development has earned her several accolades like the Wangari Maathai Prize 2015 for tree planting and the ONE Prize 2015 for eradication of extreme poverty.
Ms. Kenyangi is:
• The East Africa Region CSO representative to the Civil Society Mechanism Coordinating Committee for engagement with UN FAO’s Committee on Food Security
• The Africa Region Observer on the Climate Investment Fund – Forest Investment Program.
• A member of the Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee - Sustainable Livelihoods Education Program (UNEP / UNESCO)

Ms. Jill Blockhus
Director of International Partnerships, The Nature Conservancy
Ms. Jill Blockhus

Director of International Partnerships, The Nature Conservancy

Dr. Jill Blockhus is Director of International Partnerships at The Nature Conservancy. Based in Washington, D.C., she has 25 years of international experience in natural resources management, including climate change, community forestry, access and resource tenure rights, forest policy, and community development.

She is responsible for working with multi-disciplinary teams to promote Natural Climate Solutions, including advancing policy engagement with international institutions and expanding the uptake around NCS and Forest Landscapes in Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, India and China.

Dr. Blockhus developed and manages TNC’s relationship with the Government of Norway, which funds REDD+ science, policy and large scale field sites in Indonesia and Brazil. Within TNC, she works with the Forests and Climate Policy teams, crafting community engagement; ensuring social and environmental standards; and publishing papers on conservation and development.
Before joining TNC, Dr. Blockhus was Coordinator of the Program on Forests (PROFOR) at the World Bank where she reduced the vulnerability of forest-dependent peoples. She also supported the World Bank Forest Sector Support Program in Vietnam and managed several Global Environmental Facility grants. Before Dr. Blockhus joined the World Bank, she was a Program Officer at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Gland, Switzerland, where she developed and managed forest conservation and development projects in Asia.
She holds an MBA from the Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen, Norway; an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Ph.D. in International Environmental Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ms. Martha Rojas-Urrego
Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Ms. Martha Rojas-Urrego

Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

Ms. Martha Rojas- Urrego is the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an intergovernmental treaty ratified by 169 countries and that provides the global framework for the conservation and sustainable use of all wetlands. Under the Convention, mangroves, coral reefs and sea grass meadows are recognized as coastal wetlands. Parties to the Convention have designated about 944 sites that contain coastal or marine elements as Wetlands of International Importance. Conservation, sustainable development and social equity are running themes throughout her career from grassroots level to the highest levels of international policy making. Before joining the Ramsar Convention on 22 August 2016, Ms. Rojas- Urrego was Head of Global Advocacy and Acting Deputy Secretary General of CARE International, a development and humanitarian organization, where she led local to global policy work on fighting poverty, development and humanitarian aid, with a strong focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Between 1994 and 2008, Ms. Rojas-Urrego worked for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), first as a Senior Biodiversity Policy Advisor and then in 2002 as Head of Global Policy. In the latter position she coordinated IUCN’s global policy work, leading the Union’s engagement with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). She managed the UN Representation and EU policy function in both CARE and IUCN. Prior to joining IUCN, Ms. Rojas-Urrego was Executive Director of National Parks of Colombia and represented the Government in several multilateral environmental agreements. She also worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Natura Foundation in Colombia. She is a Colombian and French national.

Statements
Statements
Mr. Chiagozie Chima Udeh, Executive Board Member, Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, Nigeria (Major Group of Children and Youth)
Ms. Cécile Bibiane Ndjebet, Director African Women's Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF), Cameroon
Ms. Gertrude Kabusimbi Kenyangi, Executive Director, Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment, Uganda
Ms. Jill Blockhus, Director of International Partnerships, The Nature Conservancy
Ms. Martha Rojas-Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention
Ms. Roula Majdalani, Director of Sustainable Development and Policies Division
Norway
U.S. intervention
UNEP
Presentations
Mr. Rene Castro, Assistant Director General of Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Development, FAO
Mr. Roy Brouwer, Professor, Environmental Economist, Department of Economics at the University of Waterloo, Canada
Mr. Simon Levin, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Director of the Center for BioComplexity at Princeton University
Ms. Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
Ms. Heather Page, Sustainable Development Goal Monitoring Section, Statistics Division of UN DESA
United Nations