United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Targets and Indicators



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

Progress and Info

Forest areas continued to decline, protected areas were not concentrated in areas of key biodiversity and species remained threatened with extinction. However, Efforts were gaining traction and having positive effects that could help to reverse those outcomes, such as increased progress towards sustainable forest management; gains in protected area coverage for terrestrial, freshwater and mountain areas; and progress in implementing programmes, legislation and accounting principles to protect biodiversity and ecosystems.

The proportion of forest area fell, from 31.9 per cent of total land area in 2000 to 31.2 per cent in 2020, representing a net loss of nearly 100 million ha of the world’s forests. From 2000 to 2020, forest area increased in Asia, Europe and Northern America, while significantly decreasing in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and South-Eastern Asia, driven by land conversion to agriculture. Notwithstanding the overall loss, 2017 data showed that the proportion of forests in protected areas and under long-term management plans, as well as certified forest area, increased or remained stable at the global level and in most regions of the world.  

In 2020, the average proportion of each key biodiversity area for terrestrial, freshwater and mountain biodiversity within protected areas was 44, 41 and 41 per cent, respectively, an increase of around 12 to 13 percentage points since 2000. However, most key biodiversity areas still have incomplete or no coverage by protected areas.

As at 2019, 123 countries had committed themselves to setting their voluntary targets for achieving land degradation neutrality, and in 60 countries, governments had already officially endorsed those targets. 

Species extinction, which threatens sustainable development and compromises global heritage, is driven primarily through habitat loss from unsustainable agriculture, harvest and trade; deforestation; and invasive alien species. Globally, the species extinction risk has worsened by about 10 per cent over the past three decades, with the Red List Index (which measures the risk of extinction, whereby a value of 1 indicates no threat of extinction and a value of 0 indicates that all species are extinct) declining, from 0.82 in 1990 to 0.75 in 2015 to 0.73 in 2020.

As at 1 February 2020, 122 countries and the European Union had ratified the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity  (an increase of 53 from 2019), and 63 countries and the  European Union had shared information on their access and benefit-sharing frameworks. Regarding the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, there are now 146 contracting parties thereto, and 56 countries have provided information about their access and benefit-sharing measures.

Only about a third of reporting parties are on track to achieving their national biodiversity targets as reported in national reports under the Convention on Biological Diversity. As at January 2020, 129 parties, including the European Union, had reported their sixth national report, and 113 parties had assessed progress towards their national targets related to Aichi Biodiversity Target 2. About half the parties had made progress towards their targets, but not at a rate that will allow them to meet their goals.

Source: Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, Report of the Secretary-General, https://undocs.org/en/E/2020/57