Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

UNCT-GH-SDG15-JulianeReissig-2017(Photo: UN Ghana 2017 / Juliane Reissig)

Why it matters in Ghana

In Ghana, forests provide livelihood for more than 2.5 million people. Besides helping to balance the ecosystem, they play a significant role in the provision of food, clothing, shelter, furniture, potable water supply sources and bush meat.

The forests are also highly valued as sources of natural medicines, which are essential components of health treatment, which is commonly used in conjunction with mystical and ritual practices.

Forests are essential to realising our shared vision for people and the planet. They are central to our future prosperity and the stability of the global climate. That is why the Sustainable Development Goals call for transformative action to safeguard them and to combat desertification, reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.  

How we can help

  • Stop illegal mining in forest reserves (galamsey). It is destructive and affects forests, productive lands, and water bodies. In some cases, it has endangered water quality and public health and jeopardised livelihoods in farming and grazing.
  • Well-managed protected areas support healthy ecosystems, which in turn keep people healthy. Be involved locally to ensure that communities are part of the development and management of these protected areas.
  • Buy only certified lumber and wood products from legal sources. Patronising lumber produced from illegal chainsaw operations encourages the destructive practice.
  • Try growing at least one tree in your life time. The cumulative effect of your effort and that of others will help make the world a better place.
  • Indiscriminate bush burning destroys useful vegetation and beneficial soil animals. Talk to others to desist from it.
  • Extending farm lands into forest reserves illegally leads to deforestation and forest degradation. Stop illegal farming in forest reserves.
  • Wetlands protect some of Ghana’s biodiversity and are important for agriculture, water supply and recreation and other ecosystem services. Help protect them and use them sustainably.
  • Plant woodlots for fuel rather than removing commercial tree species.
  • Reduce your consumption of paper. Less paper means less dependence on trees. Go digital where possible.
  • Protecting the natural environment and wildlife can create new business and jobs in tourism that values nature.
  • Speak up against forest destruction. If you do not act now it will impact both the health of the planet and our communities.

Global Targets of Goal 15

15.1: By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements 

15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally 

15.3: By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world 

15.4: By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development 

15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species 

15.6: Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed 

15.7: Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products 

15.8: By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species 

15.9: By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts 

15.a: Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems 

15.b: Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation 

15.c: Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities

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