Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of the earth's ecosystem

Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of the earth's ecosystem

Forests cover 30% of the earth's surface and, in addition to providing safe food and shelter, they are essential for the fight against climate change, and the protection of biodiversity and the homes of indigenous peoples. Thirteen million hectares of forests are lost every year, while persistent land deterioration has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares.
Deforestation and desertification – caused by human activities and climate change – pose considerable challenges in terms of sustainable development, and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people struggling against poverty. Much effort is being made to manage forests and combat desertification.

Facts and figures

1. Forests

  • Approximately 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. This number includes about 70 million individuals among indigenous peoples
  • Forests are home to more than 80 percent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.

2. Desertification

  • 2.6 billion people directly depend on agriculture, but 52% of land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation
  • As of 2008, soil deterioration has impacted 1.5 billion people globally
  • The estimated loss of arable land is 30-35 times the historical rate
  • Due to drought and desertification, 12 million hectares are lost each year (23 hectares per minute), land where potentially 20 million tons of cereals could have been grown
  • The 74% of the world's poor are directly affected by soil deterioration.

3. Biodiversity

  • Of the 8,300 known animal species, 8 percent are extinct and one 22% is endangered
  • Of the more than 80,000 tree species, fewer than 1% of them have been studied for potential use
  • Fish provides 20 percent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Ten species alone provide approximately 30% of marine catches for fisheries, and ten species contribute approximately 50% of aquaculture production
  • Over 80% in human nutrition comes from plants. Three grain crops alone – rice, corn and wheat – provide 60% of caloric intake
  • 80% of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant-based medicines for basic care
  • Microorganisms and invertebrates are essential to ecosystems, but their contribution remains poorly understood and rarely acknowledged.


15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, especially forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations arising from international agreements

15.2 By 2020, promote sustainable management of all forest types, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and significantly increase reforestation and reforestation worldwide

15.3 By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded lands, including lands affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive for a land degradation-free world

15.4 By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to produce essential benefits for sustainable development

15.5 Take effective and immediate action to reduce the degradation of natural environments, halt the destruction of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect endangered species

15.6 Promote the equitable and equitable distribution of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote equitable access to such resources, as internationally agreed

15.7 Take action to end poaching and trafficking in protected species of flora and fauna and combat the illegal wildlife trade

15.8 By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction of diverse and invasive species and substantially reduce their impact on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and control or eradicate priority species

15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity principles into national and local projects, development processes, and poverty reduction strategies and reporting

15.a Mobilize and significantly increase economic resources from all sources to preserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems

15.b Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide appropriate incentives for developing countries to improve such management and for conservation and reforestation

15.c Strengthen global support to combat poaching and illegal trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to use sustainable livelihoods

Obiettivo 15Proteggere, ripristinare e favorire un uso sostenibile dell’ecosistema terrestre.