SDG 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

Through a grant from UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality, PREM has helped rural women form several cooperatives and taught its members how to plant a vitamin-rich tree called Moringa and how to clean, dry and sell its leaves with the help of solar technology. Used as medicine or a dietary supplement by societies around the world, Moringa also supports biodiversity and prevents soil erosion. Photo: UN Women/Joe Saad
Photo: ONU Femmes/Joe Saad


  • 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.
  • By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.
  • By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.
  • By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development.
  • Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
  • Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed.
  • Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products.
  • By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species.
  • By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts.
  • Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems.
  • Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation.
  • Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities.
SDG 15: Life on land

Around the world, 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods, yet forests are being felled at an astonishing rate. Between 2010 and 2016, 3.3 million hectares were lost, often for profits that bypassed local communities.

3.3 million. the hectares of forest areas the world lost between 2000 and 2015. rural women are particularly affected by this depletion.

Women, particularly those who are poor and living in rural areas, often depend on forests for fuel, fodder and food. Deforestation for some means spending many more hours each day walking long distances to secure these needs. Their limited ownership of land reduces their capacity to adapt to losses or to make decisions about how land is used. While some have extensive knowledge about traditional practices that are inherently sustainable, this is often excluded from decisions about sustainable ecosystems.

When women make up a critical mass of between 25 and 35 per cent of the people in community forestry, their impact is felt. Forest conditions and regeneration improve, and the women themselves gain greater political voice.


Souhad Azennoud

From where I stand: Souhad Azennoud
Souhad Azennoud, A founding member of the agricultural cooperative Ariaf Kissane and renowned as a pioneer of agroecology, is one of more than 200 women to benefit from a project supporting female seed merchants for sustainable development. 

Photo courtesy of CHIRAPAQ

Indigenous women in Peru combat climate change and boost economy
To combat the impact of climate change, indigenous women of Laramate in Peru have turned to ancestral farming techniques with support from UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality. In addition to healthier crops and improved incomes for the community, the programme has boosted indigenous women’s participation in public spaces and decision-making.

Women farmers cultivating in shallots. Photo: UN Women

Climate-smart agricultural techniques improve the livelihoods of rural women in Mali
The increasing degradation of land and natural resources caused by climate change is threatening rural women’s livelihoods in Mali.  A UN Women programme works with farmers to modernize their techniques, improves their access to information on the latest advances in agriculture and increases the value of their products by teaching them conservation methods. 


UN Women (2018), Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 Agenda.