Goal 15: Life on land

Human life depends on the earth as much as the ocean for our sustenance and livelihoods. Plant life provides 80 percent of our human diet, and we rely on agriculture as an important economic resource and means of development. Forests account for 30 percent of the Earth’s surface, providing vital habitats for millions of species and important sources for clean air and water; as well as being crucial for combating climate change.

Today we are seeing unprecedented land degradation, and the loss of arable land at 30 to 35 times the historical rate. Drought and desertification is also on the rise each year, amounting to the loss of 12 million hectares and affects poor communities globally. Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 percent are extinct and 22 percent are at risk of extinction.

The SDGs aim to conserve and restore the use of terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, drylands and mountains by 2020. Halting deforestation is also vital to mitigating the impact of climate change. Urgent action must be taken to reduce the loss of natural habitats and biodiversity which are part of our common heritage.

Facts and figures

1.6 billion

Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods.

80%

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

2.6 billion

Worldwide, 2.6 billion people depend directly on agriculture to earn a living.

8,300

Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 percent are extinct and 22 percent are at risk of extinction.

8 out of 10

Up to as 80 percent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant-based medicines for basic healthcare.

1%

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

  • Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use 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

  • 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
SDG 1SDG 2SDG 3SDG 4SDG 5SDG 6SDG 7SDG 8SDG 9SDG 10SDG 11SDG 12SDG 13SDG 14SDG 15SDG 16SDG 17
Goals in action
SDG 6 SDG 13 SDG 14 SDG 15

The answer is in nature

What do people and trees have in common? They’re complex life systems, engineered by nature. And each is ultimately reliant on the other to secure…

more ›

SDG 2 SDG 8 SDG 13 SDG 15

Feeding a family, nourishing a community

1 out of 2 children in Guatemala suffers from malnutrition. A new initiative is working with local farmers to change that.

more ›

SDG 9 SDG 13 SDG 15 SDG 17

Drones for social good

UNDP and the Government of Maldives experimented with using drones to help create 3D climate risk maps. The initial results are promising.

more ›

SDG 9 SDG 11 SDG 13 SDG 15

A guilt-free holiday

Montenegro's natural beauty is attracting growing numbers of tourists. UNDP is helping to devise green travel solutions to prevent negative impacts on…

more ›

SDG 8 SDG 11 SDG 13 SDG 15

Protecting our planet's lungs

In Peru's Southern Amazon, the indigenous Harakmbut people are warriors against climate change.

more ›

SDG 1 SDG 5 SDG 7 SDG 13 SDG 15

Supporting Mali's women to adapt to climate change

Climate change has brought more drought and shorter rainy seasons in Mali. The government has partnered with UNDP to give women the tools they need to…

more ›

SDG 8 SDG 10 SDG 12 SDG 15

Another kind of wealth: Ancestral culture

Where the Pemón live, the majestic landscape holds gold, diamonds and other precious minerals. But the indigenous people have another valuable…

more ›

SDG 1 SDG 2 SDG 4 SDG 5 SDG 15

Removing the obstacles for women farmers

UNDP is bringing together government, big business and small-scale farmers to support sustainable agricultural practices.

more ›

SDG 1 SDG 4 SDG 12 SDG 15

Cultivating change in Papua

Farmers have discovered a new use for Sereh merah, a plant long used to drive away evil spirits.

more ›

UNDP Around the world