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.
Goals in action
Climate change has led to more drought and shorter rainy seasons in Mali. The government has partnered with UNDP to strengthen agricultural communities and empower women to mitigate the social and economic impacts of climate change. MORE >
Through the Green Commodities Programme, UNDP is bringing together government, big business and small-scale farmers across 10 countries to address sustainable agricultural practices. The programme helps improve access to resources and ensure equal opportunities for women. MORE >
With EU funding and UNDP support, the Clima East Pilot Project in Azerbaijan is working to teach and establish sustainable pasture management practices, improve the fertility of pastures and forests and prevent soil erosion and landslides. MORE >