SDG 15 Background Note - ESCWA

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SDG 15 Background Note

Country: Arab region

Publication Type: Information material

Cluster: 2030 Agenda and SDG Coordination

Focus Area: 2030 Agenda

Initiatives: Arab Forum for Sustainable Development

SDGs: Goal 15: Life On Land, Agenda 2030

Keywords: Covid-19, Ecosystems, Environment, Nature conservation, Environmental management, Green economy, Arab countries

SDG 15 Background Note

March 2022

The planet is facing a complex crisis related to biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution. The Arab region is particularly vulnerable, being a climate and conflict hotspot. Climate change is exacerbating land degradation trends, threatening forest cover, and accelerating the expansion of drylands, which represent almost half of the total land area of the region. Climate change is also triggering irreversible shifts in species distribution and interactions. Wars in several Arab countries have resulted in the destruction of habitats, including rangelands and rain-fed farming ecosystems, and the loss of important plant and animal species, contributing to poverty, displacement, and hunger.

The COVID-19 recovery is a unique opportunity to build back greener. Coordinated and strategic regional planning and greater investment in nature-based solutions, sustainable forest management, and landscape restoration are necessary to reverse the current trajectory of loss and degradation, ensure ecosystem resilience, and build social preparedness. The co-benefits in terms of human health, job creation, poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and food security are significant and largely outweigh the costs.

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