Plant Conservation and the Sustainable Development Goals: A Policy Paper Prepared for the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation
The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), with its 16 plant conservation targets, was originally adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2002. It was updated and revised in 2010, with targets set to be achieved by 2020. The GSPC’s targets are output oriented, specific, and measurable. They address the conservation needs of wild plants as well as those of cultivated crops, pastures, and forests. Although it is generally acknowledged that greater progress has been made in conserving threatened plants than would have been made without the GSPC, there is a continued lack of mainstreaming plant conservation at the national level and a lack of comprehensive information on which plants are threatened and where. With the GSPC reaching the end of its second phase in 2020, it is important to consider how plant conservation can enhance its visibility and generate support in the future. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were developed to succeed the Millennium Development Goals and were adopted in 2015 by the international community through the United Nations. It is expected that the SDGs will shape the actions taken by governments in the future. This paper reviews and highlights the contribution that plant conservation can make in achieving the SDGs. The SDG framework provides a helpful point of reference to demonstrate the fundamental importance of plants for the planet, and importantly, if plant conservation is not achieved, then the achievement of these goals is put at risk, suggesting that the integration and mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation, ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems, and plant protection in particular, are of fundamental importance to the achievement of sustainability on the planet.