Updated: Nov 3, 2018
Image credit: Richard Ridge
When I travel overseas and tell people I’m from Australia, their first question is usually “have you ever seen a kangaroo?”
For any Aussies reading this, you know the answer to that question is YES.
Australia is fortunate to have such a beautiful and diverse range of flora and fauna – some of the most unique in the world. For many tourists, it’s an attraction for them to visit the land Down Under.
This means we need to invest in Goal 15: Life On Land – mostly because koalas are close to the most adorable creatures on the face of the earth – but also because we have a responsibility to look after the land on which we have been blessed to live.
Target 15.1 aims to ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and insane freshwater ecosystems as well as their services, which includes things like forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands. All of this must be done by 2020.
By 2020, according to Goal 15, we also must promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests. This means halting deforestation, restoring degraded forests and substantially increasing afforestation and reforestation globally. Australia’s deforestation rate currently sits at over half a million hectares each year, making it the fifth highest land-clearing country in the world. This is a statistic we urgently need to address.
Target 15.3 aims to combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil. This includes land affected by desertification, drought and floods. By doing this, our overall aim to to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.
As a born and raised west coast lass, mountain ranges were never really a “thing” for me growing up. Since moving to the east, I have developed a true appreciation for Australia’s offering of mountain ranges – most notably the Brindabellas. Target 15.4 is about conserving such ecosystems to enhance their capacity to provide benefits which are essential for sustainable development.
Here is a fantastic 1 minute video from the Mountain Partnership on International Mountain Day (December 11th) last year.
You might remember that Target 2.5 related to maintaining the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals. Well, Target 15.5 relates to the reduction of degradation of natural habitats and cessation of the loss of biodiversity by 2030. It also includes, however, a five year target to ensure we protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
We all know by now the Global Goals aren’t a set of 17 different agendas. “The goals” is one agenda (if you will excuse the grammatical expression). Therefore, Goal 15 isn’t just about the environment. It’s also about ensuring the benefits of a sustainable environment are shared equally among everyone. This is exactly what Target 15.6 aims to do.
Target 15.7 touches briefly on the conservation and protection efforts of Target 15.5 through its aim to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna. This includes addressing the supply of illegal wildlife products.
For those of you who have travelled internationally, or even indulged in an episode or two of Border Patrol, you would realise Australia has relatively strict laws on bringing certain items back into the country. This is actually a good thing! Not only does it make for great television, it actually protects our ecosystem! Target 15.8 requires that by 2020, we introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate priority species. It’s safe to say that Australia is making tremendous progress towards the achievement of this particular target.
Target 15.9 directly relates to the all-important different levels of involvement in the achievement of the goals. This target aims to integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national AND local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts.
To achieve this, we need to mobilise and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems. We also need to do this to finance sustainable forest management.
While we need to continue to work on the implementation of Goal 15 and its associated targets in Australia, it is also important we offer our support to developing countries by providing incentives to advance the sustainable management of their forests, including conservation and reforestation. Another area in which we must form international alliances is to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species. This is best done by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities as set out in #Goal8: #DecentWork and #EconomicGrowth.
If you are passionate about seeing immediate action taken on preserving our natural environment in Australia and in our neighbouring countries, check out “Goal 15: Life On Land” and head over to our “What Can I Do?” page to see how you can become involved in achieving the Global Goals!