In the 2 years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) there has been an increasing focus on the ways in which natural ecosystems underpin the delivery of the 17 Goals. Given this focus, the role of organisations working directly on the protection of these ecosystems is also of increasing interest.
In 2016 a CCI collaboration was established, supported through the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation, to consider the contributions that biodiversity conservation organisations can make to the SDGs. The project, “Unusual Suspects”, examines CCI organisations’ own experiences of biodiversity conservation to consider where potential to deliver the SDGs might lie, and how this might be facilitated. A collaboration between the University of Cambridge’s Geography Department, BirdLife International, Fauna & Flora International, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the International Institute for Environment and Development, the project was able to draw on extensive project experience from these organisations.
One of the major outputs of this project has now just been launched. The “SDG Tool” is an online resource that allows conservation professionals to look at how biodiversity projects can contribute to the SDG targets. The tool provides practitioners with a simple interactive interface that helps to navigate the complexity of the 169 targets associated with the SDGs, and elucidates their links with project level interventions. By completing a series of questions, users of the tool are guided towards suggestions of the SDG targets that might be most relevant to their project. It is hoped that this tool will support the engagement of conservation practitioners with the SDG agenda, given that biodiversity conservation initiatives may be the “Unusual Suspects” with real potential to positively support with the SDGs.
In addition to the CCI Collaborative Fund, the development of the SDG tool was supported by the Cambridge ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.