22 Jan 2019

How does YOUR conservation project contribute to Sustainable Development Goals?

A new tool, developed with the help of BirdLife, helps you find out which United Nations sustainable development targets your project might fulfil. It’s free, easy to use, and ready to go!

© University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute
© University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute
By Jessica Law

As the world expands in population, wealth and technology, one of the best ways we can protect nature is to make sure that conservation is built into the planning stage of everything we do, and that human equality, education and health improve in a way that doesn’t deplete the world’s finite resources. That’s why in 2015, the United Nations General Assembly came up with 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030.

Although these goals are highly laudable, they can seem complex, consisting of 169 targets that, until you scratch the surface, may not seem directly linked to conservation. Working out whether your current or upcoming project fulfilled these targets was complicated – until now. A collaboration of biodiversity organisations within Cambridge Conservation Initiative*, including BirdLife International, have drawn on their extensive project experience to develop the SDG tool, a simple, easy-to-use online resource that guides conservationists towards which targets might be most relevant to their project.

Watch the video testimonials here

The tool assumes no prior knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals, instead offering a series of clear questions. We hope that this tool will encourage conservationists to engage with the goals and make an active effort to achieve them through their work. This toolkit is part of the “Unusual Suspects” project, a wider collaboration within Cambridge Conservation Initiative to work out what contribution biodiversity conservation can make towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals – an area which is usually dominated by larger bodies such as governments and businesses.

If you’ve already completed a project which you think fulfils these goals, the United Nations website calling for organisations to send in examples of good practices, success stories and lessons learned. Find out how to submit your story here.

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*The SDG tool was developed with the help of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, BirdLife International, Fauna & Flora International, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the International Institute for Environment and Development.