SDG 15: Life on land

SDG 15: Life on land
A goat stands in the sun as pastoralists wait to vaccinate their livestock against parasites and other diseases, near the village of Bandar Beyla, Somalia (Photo: Karel Prinsloo / FAO in Emergencies)

SDG 15 aims to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of ecosystems. This can be done through managing forests, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation and stopping biodiversity loss. From 2000 to 2015, more than one fifth of the Earth’s total land area was degraded mainly because of human activity.

Biodiversity is essential. Although forests only cover around 30% of the Earth’s land area, they contain 80% of terrestrial biomass and provide a habitat for over half of the world’s known terrestrial plant and animal species; many of which provide humanity with essential services. The overall agenda for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals is to ‘leave no one behind’. Therefore, promoting biodiversity is integral as it is estimated that ecosystem services make up between 50% and 90% of the livelihood requirements among poor rural and forest-dwelling communities.

 

SDG 15: Life on land
FAO Livestock Sector Coordinator, Khalid Saeed, vaccinates Mahal Mohamed’s goats against parasites and treats them for other diseases, near the village of Bandar Beyla, Somalia (Photo: Karel Prinsloo / FAO in Emergencies)

Somalia is no exception, with over a quarter of the population at risk of famine. Documented by Arete photojournalist Karel Prinsloo, the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) have been working with Somalia’s nomadic pastoralists. A community of people who rely on their livestock to survive and move with their herds, looking for lands to graze and rivers to drink from. As terrestrial ecosystems break down, without support from organisations such as the UN FAO, it is people like this who will suffer most.

To mark the first UN summit on the SDGs on 24th and 25th September 2019, we have been publishing a daily blog on how we help organisations to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Check out our blogs here.