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Measuring natural life

The Sustainable Development Goals and other global processes commit countries to safeguarding biodiversity, but how do we ensure a common definition is used and that progress is measured in the same way?


To help respond to these challenges, UN Environment has produced a new guide for national experts working on biodiversity and sustainable development.


The publication, titled Indicators and information systems for Biodiversity and Development –guidance from the Pan European region, was produced with technical support from the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC).


It aims to ensure experts have effective indicators and information systems for their work and helps countries generate information to manage biodiversity and take actions towards the Global Goals.


The publication comes following two projects run by UN Environment during 2014-2016 and funding from the European Commission. The projects found that information systems are needed to address limited national resources to produce biodiversity data and analyses.


The report also addresses the ways in which information systems are needed for decision-making on the environment. This is because information is needed on the status and trends of biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and the supply and importance of ecosystem services.

It furthermore presents guidance on how a country could create a national biodiversity information system – as the Republic of Serbia aims to do for example - linking data production and management to information analysis and communication.


For example, a table produced used to help identify information needs for Protected Areas is shared in the publication. The table includes an assessment of how many species are in the Protected Area, how it can be categorised and how it affects local livelihoods.


Biodiversity indicators are needed to carry out National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans – the primary means of implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity. Indicators developed for revised plans can be relevant for the Global Goals, as well as ensure that actions contribute to development objectives.


Click here to view the report in English or here for a Russian version. For more information contact










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