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UNEP-WCMC Annual Review 2020

21 July 2021
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Image: Pulsar Imagens, Adobe Stock

Despite 2020 not being the “super year” for biodiversity that many had expected, UNEP-WCMC continued our work with our partners worldwide towards building a better future for people and nature. 

Neville Ash, UNEP-WCMC Director, says: “Through working in over 130 countries with more than 200 funders and partners, UNEP-WCMC has had great impact during the year on the nature and sustainability agenda.” 

From reporting on the state of the world’s forests, tracking global progress on protected and conserved areas, to supporting countries in assessing and understanding their stocks of natural capital, the UNEP-WCMC Annual Review 2020 provides an overview of our work over the last year, and of Centre’s priorities in the years ahead. 

Snapshots from 2020 

Jonny Hughes, WCMC Chief Executive Officer, UNEP-WCMC, says: “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, last year the Centre produced more high-quality outputs than in any other year in its history.” 

We helped businesses and investors avoid impacts on nature. New research and a novel data layer to support business decision making was supported by the Proteus Partnership, which also agreed a new and ambitious five-year strategy to enable and support companies towards nature positive operations. 

We highlighted the benefits of joint action for climate and nature. Work by UNEP-WCMC and our partners to map priority areas for biodiversity and carbon drew the climate and nature agendas closer together. 

Our work underpinned plans to monitor progress towards new global ambitions for biodiversity. UNEP-WCMC has provided critical work in support of efforts to deliver an effective monitoring system for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, as well as supporting nations in meeting their global commitments on a wide range of global environmental agreements, including agreements to ensure international wildlife trade is legal and sustainable. 

2021 and the decade ahead 

Neville Ash says: “If we are to succeed in halting and reversing biodiversity loss, global ambitions will need to translate into urgent national and local action. UNEP-WCMC will be supporting this action in the decade ahead.”  

Urgent action will be critical for tackling the global nature crisis and securing a better, healthier and more resilient future for people and planet. Building back better from the COVID-19 crisis will be a collective challenge. The pandemic has reinforced the need for urgent action to tackle the degradation of nature. UNEP-WCMC will deliver on our role to provide trusted knowledge and support its use to improve the resilience of ecological, economic and social systems. 

The Centre will also continue to play a leading role in shaping and supporting global environmental agreements. The UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, with the expected adoption of a new global biodiversity framework, the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, and UN Food Systems Summit, will be springboard moments for the future of our planet, and UNEP-WCMC will be helping to shape their outcomes and deliver their follow up. 

In 2021, the Centre will continue to lead and innovate. With the climate and nature agendas merging and political support at the highest levels growing, the demand for information on biodiversity is growing. We will address this need through the new Planet + initiative, transforming the way we collect, manage, share, and make available biodiversity data. We will drive progress on conservation ambitions, accelerate action for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, work to ensure an economy that works for nature and people, and strengthen the use of nature-based solutions for sustainable development. 

UNEP-WCMC will continue work with partners and leaders across all sectors of society, ensuring that decision-makers have the information they need to make positive choices for nature and people. 


Read the UNEP-WCMC Annual Review 2020 here.