Woman works outside at a large loom.
A woman weaves a textile on Flores Island, Indonesia, part of the Wallacea Biodiversity Hotspot.
© Conservation International/ photo by Aulia Erlangga
The ecological crisis, and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species.Pope Francis, speech to the U.N. General Assembly, September 25, 2015

The importance of biodiversity to the Sustainable Development Goals

Biodiversity is indispensable to sustainable development and human well-being.

It supports agriculture-maintaining pollinators, water resources and fertile soils. It delivers key ingredients for medicines and mitigates climate change by sequestering carbon and buffering people from the effects of extreme weather. And it can become a renewable source of energy and a supplier of material goods. So, naturally, it has an important role in the global sustainable development agenda.

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 goals to guide global development efforts through the year 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seek to improve human well-being by eradicating economic and social inequalities, improving health and education, supporting a healthy planet, and promoting safe and peaceful societies.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) supports the SDGs and the U.N.’s recognition that sustaining a healthy environment is vital to the long-term well-being of people.

Through its grantees, CEPF has made and expects to expand on contributions to several of the goals, particularly Goal 15, which focuses on CEPF’s core business—conservation of biodiversity and critical ecosystems.


Bright green icon of a tree with birds representing Sustainable Development Goal 15, Life on Land.
Goal 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


CEPF contributions to Goal 15 include: 

  • Contribution to improved biodiversity management of 6.37 million hectares of production landscapes in 19 hotspots.
  • At least 1,200 IUCN Red List species listed as CR, EN, and VU supported.
  • 49 projects valued at US$5,331,511 focused on reducing wildlife trafficking, with targeted efforts to reduce demand for elephant ivory, rhino horn, pangolins, turtles and tortoises and a range of other species.

Examples of CEPF grantee contributions to other Sustainable Development Goals

  • 2,612 communities receiving socioeconomic benefits such as improved access to water, and improved food security.
  • 67,000 people benefiting from training, including in topics that lead to improved nutrition, increased income, increased production. Topics include beekeeping, gardening, horticulture, organic practices, sustainable fisheries.
  • In 2015-2016, 33,872 people in two biodiversity hotspots (Indo-Burma and Eastern Afromontane) report benefiting from increased income.
  • 6.4 million hectares of production landscape with strengthened biodiversity management, through mechanisms such as organic agriculture, sustainable harvest, and improved land use practices.