University of Cambridge Tool Shows Biodiversity Contributions to SDG Targets

12th November 2018 by Emma Goring

Researchers from the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute (UCCRI) developed an online tool to help identify the contribution of biodiversity conservation projects to SDG targets. Also, UCCRI recent research shows that REDD+ projects demonstrate strong alignment with the SDGs.

The contribution of natural ecosystems to all SDGs, and the need for coherent policy making targeting both ecosystem management and the SDGs, are increasingly recognized in high-level discussions.

In the context of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) ‘Unusual Suspects’ project, researchers examined the potential of biodiversity conservation to deliver the SDGs, drawing on the experiences of a number of NGOs engaging in conservation projects, including Birdlife International, Fauna and Flora International, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the International Institute for Environment and Development.

They also developed an online tool that allows conservation professionals to look at how biodiversity projects can contribute to specific SDG targets. The ‘SDG Tool’ provides practitioners with a simple interactive interface for navigating the SDG targets and their links with project-level interventions.

In addition, UCCRI researchers examined the potential of REDD+ projects for contributing to the SDGs. The study finds that REDD+ projects demonstrate strong alignment with the SDGs, but this contribution is not always monitored and reported. The study finds a marked gap between aspiration and reported progress for each project. It acknowledges that this may be due to financial and time constraints, as REDD+ practitioners face trade-offs between investing into delivering real social and environmental improvements, as opposed to investing into monitoring changes that may take more time to show. The findings suggest that REDD+ and other biodiversity conservation initiatives could support the SDGs in diverse settings.