SDG15 Goal Profile
SDG15 Goal Profile
Rapid urbanization, increasingly affluent lifestyles and changing food consumption patterns and overall economic growth trends are increasing the demand for resources and services and exerting increasing pressure on ecosystems all over the Asia-Pacific Region. Ecosystems are threatened throughout the region due to expanding and increasingly intensive agriculture, unsustainable oil palm and rubber plantations, fires, forest clearance, poorly regulated extractives industries, aquaculture and illegal wildlife trade. The total forest area has increased in Asia since 1990 but this figure hides the continuing loss of natural forests behind the expansion of planted forests, and sub-regional trends differ. Southeast Asia, for example, shows an increased rate of forest cover loss as well as a reduction in biomass stocks (indicating degradation), despite an increased area of protected forests and stability in areas under forest management plans1. The number of threatened mammal and plant species increased by more than 10 and 18 per cent respectively in the last decade. Rural livelihoods are intimately connected with and negatively affected by the deteriorating health of terrestrial ecosystems. The drivers of land-use change vary between subregions. Larger and more developed countries are more impacted by large-scale agricultural development while smaller countries, especially Small Island Developing States, suffer from land degradation from small scale activities like shifting cultivation or urban expansion from population growth. Degradation of terrestrial ecosystems results in loss of current and future benefits in terms of the multiple services provided by terrestrial ecosystems, including for rural livelihoods, disaster risk reduction, water supply, food security and carbon sequestration. Lastly, a key challenge identified in the ESCAP multi-stakeholder survey2 was the need to ensure community and indigenous people engagement in addressing biodiversity conservation and protection.