Analysis and Cases of 169 Targets under Sustainable Development Goals (127)


The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development covers 17 goals, the 15th of which is “Life onLand”, namely: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Under this major goal, there are 12 targets, the 15.1 of which is “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.”

●Current Situation

The World

World leaders and businesses take major steps to restore and protect sustainable natural ecosystems



A film narrated by Sir David Attenborough, a prominent British nature and environmental advocate, puts it this way: “By destroying forests, we are harming biodiversity and our lives...forests provide fresh water, to clean the air we breathe, to inspire spiritual values, and to feed us... Our challenge now must be to stop the destruction and start restoring forests. This is a huge task and every country needs its own solution. ” He issued a call to action for the people.

Qu Dongyu, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, said that FAO has provided strong support to the national drought-resistance capacity-building programs of Cape Verde, Cuba, Panama, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Such collaborations use GEF Global Program funding and are spread across the world, reaching 31 countries. In addition, FAO will continue to take the initiative and act actively to assist countries in introducing climate financing, while promoting innovation in the agri-food system and enhancing climate resilience.

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that at least 110 countries representing 85% of the world’s forest area have joined the pivotal Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, committing to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. Through the declaration, leaders pledged to strengthen joint efforts to protect forests and other terrestrial ecosystems, accelerate their recovery, and promote sustainable trade and development policies, both internationally and domestically.


China’s terrestrial ecological restoration


The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2021-2030 the “Decade of Ecosystem Restoration,” positioning ecosystem restoration as an essential natural solution to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and global priorities. Effective and sustainable ecological restoration programs help protect biodiversity, provide goods and services, and improve human health and well-being.

Since China implemented the “reform and opening up” policy in the late 1970s, the economy has continued to grow rapidly. Energy-driven heavy industry has caused serious environmental problems and ecosystem degradation. The Chinese government has successively implemented a number of key ecological restoration projects to alleviate ecological problems, such as the Three North Natural Forest and returning farmland to forest. So far, China has achieved great success in ecological restoration practices, increasing the global green area by 25%. With support at the national level, many studies have been conducted on various types of ecosystems in different regions of China, under different climate and landform backgrounds. These studies cover rivers, wetlands, forests, grasslands, croplands, post-mining lands, and more, and assess key aspects of specific restored ecosystems.

In 2000, the national “grain for green” and “grass for green” ecological restoration projects were launched to prevent soil erosion and vegetation degradation. “Grain for green” represents the largest ecological restoration effort in the world. By the end of 2019, 2.1 million square kilometers had been restored or were being restored, with an investment of US$74 billion. In 2012, the Chinese government raised “ecological civilization” as its primary goal, and ecological restoration entered a new era. The priority of ecological protection is higher than that of economic development. In 2016, the State Council of China suggested that China speed up the ecological restoration of mountains, rivers, forests, fields and grasslands. In 2017, ’the Ministry of Environment and the National Tourism Administration implemented the national park system, opening a new model of environmental protection and resource utilization. In 2018, ecological civilization was listed as one of China’s constitutional principles. Recently, China approved the Master Plan for National Major Projectsin Key Ecosystem Conservation and Restoration (2021-2035). After decades of hard work, the increase in green area in China has led global green growth efforts. China has made great achievements in the practice of ecological restoration.



The World

Circular economy can help stem biodiversity loss



Biodiversity is our natural circular economy engine that promotes a balanced economic system. The balance of the natural world, however, is threatened by unsustainable, linear economic patterns, which imperil our biodiversity. The consequences are cost increases in multiple sectors, climate instability and pandemics.

Human activities are driving biodiversity loss, resulting in 1 million species facing the risk of extinction. Over half of the world’s total GDP is highly dependent on nature and its services. A study exploring this nexus and another one on circular economy solutions for halting biodiversity loss show that the circular economy alone could play a role in curbing biodiversity loss and generate tangible opportunities for businesses.

Biodiversity provides a significant economic value in the form of ecosystem services, estimated at more than $150 trillion annually, about twice the world’s GDP. Businesses could seize massive opportunities from biodiversity. The growing demand for plant- and vegan-based products is evident.

Understanding how trade rules contribute to the process and production methods and how they can deliver on the biodiversity and circular economy nexus are important. In facilitating market access for small and medium enterprises, governments could provide policy support and mechanisms. The creation of incentives for these enterprises to enter this space would also help as bioeconomy-based products are less competitive than virgin products. 


How to reverse Africa’s land degradation


In Kenya's mountain forests - known as the country’s "water towers" - logging for timber, charcoal and agricultural expansion has cut water flows in rivers, limiting irrigation for farmland among other impacts. As land is damaged and crop yields fall, many communities become trapped in a downward spiral of poverty that leads to more land degradation and worsening water scarcity. If current trends continue, by 2050 an additional 16 million square kilometers (6.2 million square miles) of land - the size of South America - will be degraded, the report projects.

Almost 15% of agricultural land, pasture and natural areas could also see a long-term decline in productivity, with sub-Saharan Africa the worst affected. If 35% of global land is restored, crop yields could increase by up to 10% by 2050, with the largest gains in the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa.

In Ethiopia, small-scale farmers are rotating and diversifying crops, using water-saving drip irrigation and adopting resistant crop varieties to boost harvests and cut drought vulnerability. Use of small dams to slow and capture heavy rains also helps more water filter into soils, preventing downstream flooding while boosting moisture available for farming.

In Malawi, inter-cropping a legume tree with maize is improving soil nutrients, creating an inexpensive natural fertilizer, while also helping soils hold more water.

In Burkina Faso, the construction of stone bunds, known as diguettes, hold back rainwater and let it soak into the soil rather than run off, improving food security and reversing desertification.



“Landscape Project” reshapes the background of beautiful China


The Party’s Central Committee attaches great importance to the work of ecological civilization, and puts forward the concept of a life community of mountains, rivers, forests, fields, lakes and grasses, and advocates the implementation of the overall protection, systematic restoration, and comprehensive management of the ecosystem, so as to realize the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. In order to implement the above requirements and deeply explore the path of integrated protection and restoration, landscape projects came into being.

Since 2016, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment have supported 44 landscape projects, in five batches, in important ecological barrier areas such as “three areas and four belts” in the country, involving 27 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government. Nearly 80 billion yuan of supplementary funds have been provided, and more than 5 million hectares of ecological protection and restoration has been completed.

At the end of 2022, the Landscape Project was selected into the first batch of the world’s top 10 ecological restoration flagship projects, providing Chinese solutions and Chinese wisdom for the protection and restoration of ecosystems. The core goal of the Landscape Project is to reverse the degradation of ecosystems on a large scale, curb the loss of biodiversity, improve the self-recovery ability of ecosystems, and enhance the stability of ecosystems.


China Global Philanthropy Institute holds special salon to focus on ecological assets and solve the dilemma of development and protection



On May 22, 2023, the Shenzhen-based China Global Philanthropy Institute, together with the China Green Foundation, organized a salon in Beijing, focusing on biodiversity protection and sustainable development, and exploring the direction of scientific development between development and protection.

For a long time, the value of ecosystems has been simply regarded as species living on mountains or in forests, ignoring the ecological functions of the ecosystem itself, as well as the role of biodiversity in water conservation, soil, climate change, and its impact on human health, entertainment and other values. So the United Nations Environment Program proposed “Ecosystem and Biodiversity Economics.”

When a company invests in the protection of the ecosystem, its ESG rating system score will be improved accordingly. The capital market will give the company capital returns based on the rating system, so as to encourage the company to continue to invest in the ecosystem and to gain the value, leading to win-win results.



Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiated by the United Nations

On January 1, 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including 169 targets, of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.