The global indicator framework was developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and agreed to, as a practical starting point at the 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission held in March 2016. The report of the Commission, which included the global indicator framework, was then taken note of by ECOSOC at its 70th session in June 2016. More information.
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
Forest area as a proportion of total land area
Proportion of important sites for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity that are covered by protected areas, by ecosystem type
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
Progress towards sustainable forest management
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
Proportion of land that is degraded over total land area
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
Coverage by protected areas of important sites for mountain biodiversity
Mountain Green Cover Index
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
Red List Index
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
Number of countries that have adopted legislative, administrative and policy frameworks to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits
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
Proportion of traded wildlife that was poached or illicitly trafficked
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
Proportion of countries adopting relevant national legislation and adequately resourcing the prevention or control of invasive alien species
By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
Progress towards national targets established in accordance with Aichi Biodiversity Target 2 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020
Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems
Official development assistance and public expenditure on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems
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
Official development assistance and public expenditure on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems
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
Proportion of traded wildlife that was poached or illicitly trafficked
Goal 15 was reviewed in-depth at the High-level Political Forum of 2018
Read more in related topics
Progress of goal 15 in 2017

Progress in preserving and sustainably using the Earth’s terrestrial species and ecosystems is uneven. The pace of forest loss has slowed and improvements continue to be made in managing forests sustainably and protecting areas important for biodiversity. However, declining trends in land productivity, biodiversity loss and poaching and trafficking of wildlife remain serious concerns.

  • The net loss of forest continues to slow and forest biomass stock per hecta re is stable. More forests are being protected and areas under long-term management plans and voluntary certification have increased. From 2010 to 2015, the annual net loss of forest area globally was less than half that of the 1990s. The proportion of land area covered by forest decreased from 31.6 per cent in 1990 to 30.8 per cent in 2010 and 30.6 per cent in 2015.
  • Fifteen per cent of land is currently under protection, but that does not cover all areas important for biodiversity. Protecting key biodiversity areas is necessary to strengthen natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. From 2000 to 2017, average worldwide coverage of terrestrial, freshwater and mountain key biodiversity areas by protected areas increased from 35 per cent to 47 per cent, from 32 per cent to 43 per cent and from 39 per cent to 49 per cent, respectively.
  • As of 2017, 76 per cent of the world’s mountain areas are covered by some form of green vegetation, including forests, shrubs, grasses and crops. Green cover on mountains is lowest in Central Asia (31 per cent) and highest in Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand) (98 per cent).
  • From 1998 to 2013, about one fifth of the Earth’s land surface covered by vegetation showed persistent and declining trends in productivity. South America and Africa are most affected; in some cases, advanced stages of land degradation there are leading to desertification in dryland areas, particularly in the grasslands and rangelands. Land and soil degradation undermine the security and development of all countries. Reversing the effects of land degradation and desertification through sustainable land management is key to improving the lives and livelihoods of more than 1 billion people currently under threat.
  • Biodiversity loss continues at an alarming rate according to the Red List Index. The extinction risk for corals is increasing most rapidly among all assessed species groups owing to the growing threat from climate change and local impacts. Chytrid fungal disease, another grave concern, is decimating many amphibian species and increasing their risk of extinction.
  • Wildlife poaching and trafficking continues to thwart conservation efforts. Illicit wildlife markets are complex and subject to rapid fluctuations. Demand for a given wildlife product can grow quickly, before the international community can react. In 2013, elephant ivory, rosewood and rhinoceros horn comprised over 60 per cent of total wildlife and timber product seizures.
  • The global community is committed to conserving biodiversity. Two international agreements aim at sharing the benefits from using genetic resources in a fair and equitable way. As of April 2017, 144 countries ratified the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and 96 countries ratified the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization.
  • In 2015, bilateral ODA in support of biodiversity amounted to $8.8 billion, an increase of 39 per cent in real terms over 2014.

Source: Report of the Secretary-General, "Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals", E/2017/66

Progress of goal 15 in 2018

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.

Source: Report of the Secretary-General, The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018

Progress of goal 15 in 2016
  • Preserving diverse forms of life on land requires targeted efforts to protect, restore and promote the conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial and other ecosystems. Goal 15 focuses specifically on managing forests sustainably, restoring degraded lands and successfully combating desertification, reducing degraded natural habitats and ending biodiversity loss.
  • Between 1990 and 2015, the world’s forest area diminished from 31.7 per cent of the world’s total land mass to 30.7 per cent. The loss was mainly attributable to the conversion of forest to other land uses, such as agriculture and infrastructure development. Meanwhile, other areas were transformed into forests through planting, landscape restoration or the natural expansion of forest. Owing to the balance of the two processes and efforts to slow deforestation, the global net loss of forest area declined from 7.3 million hectares per year in the 1990s to 3.3 million hectares per year during the period from 2010 to 2015.
  • To safeguard places that contribute significantly to global biodiversity, protected areas have been established and identified as key biodiversity areas. In 2014, 15.2 per cent of the world’s terrestrial and freshwater environments were covered by protected areas. The percentage of terrestrial key biodiversity areas covered by protected areas has increased, from 16.5 per cent in 2000 to 19.3 per cent in 2016. Over the same period, the share of freshwater key biodiversity areas that are protected has increased from 13.8 per cent to 16.6 per cent, and the share of mountain key biodiversity areas under protection has grown from 18.1 per cent to 20.1 per cent.
  • The focus in Goal 15 on halting biodiversity loss comes at a critical time, since many species of amphibians, birds and mammals are sliding towards extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List Index, amphibians are declining most rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean, primarily as a result of the chytrid fungal disease, one of numerous wildlife diseases on the rise worldwide. The greatest extinction risks for birds and mammals are found in South-Eastern Asia, mainly owing to the conversion of lowland forests. However, their decline is not inevitable, with extinction risks for vertebrate species having been reversed in five small island developing States (the Cook Islands, Fiji, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tonga) as a result of conservation actions over the past several decades.
  • Conservation efforts can also be thwarted by poaching and the trafficking of wildlife. Since 1999, at least 7,000 species of animals and plants have been detected in illegal trade, and the list of species under international protection continues to grow. Comparing the size of legal trade in wildlife products (about 900,000 transactions per year) to the quantity of wildlife seized (about 16,000 seizures per year) provides an indication of the scope of illicit wildlife trafficking. The value of legal and illicit wildlife products can also be compared. For example, the value of recorded seizures of Crocodylus genus represents between 0.4 per cent and 0.6 per cent of the value of legal protected exports of this species between 2009 and 2013, with no clear trend discernible.
  • In 2014, bilateral ODA to support biodiversity amounted to $7 billion, an increase of 16 per cent in real terms over 2013. The two largest recipients of biodiversity assistance were the Philippines and India, which together received about $1 billion of the total aid.

Source: Report of the Secretary-General, "Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals", E/2016/75
United Nations