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.

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 and grantee contributions to Goal 15 include: 

  • Strengthened management and protection of 51 million hectares of Key Biodiversity Areas in 24 biodiversity hotspots. 
  • Support for the creation or expansion of 16.1 million hectares of protected areas in 24 biodiversity hotspots. 
  • Contribution to improved biodiversity management of more than 10.04 million hectares of production landscapes in 21 biodiversity hotspots.
  • At least 942 IUCN Red List species listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable benefiting from CEPF support.
  • More than 60 projects funded at more than US$6.5 million 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

  • More than 4,300 communities receiving non-cash benefits such as improved access to water and improved food security.
  • More than 163,000 people benefiting from structured training in topics that lead to improved nutrition, increased income and increased production. Topics include beekeeping, gardening, horticulture, organic practices, sustainable fisheries and sustainable harvest of medicinal plants.
  • Since 2017, the start of collection of data on cash benefits, more than 103,000 people reported to have received cash benefits as a result of CEPF-funded projects.
  • 81 projects with an emphasis on water management funded, for a total of more than US$7.9 million. 
  • 91 projects with a component focused on conservation finance supported, totaling US$15,002,807.