One of the most exciting aspects of the Global Goals is their interconnectedness. Previously, the multiple areas of development have been treated rather separately within their own categories. Now, however, we have a way to explore how social, environmental and economic development are all related to one another. This year, we are exploring how each goal and their associated targets need to see the achievement of each other in order to be fulfilled as a whole.
Goal 15 aims to ensure we protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss and Goal 16 aims to ensure we promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions.
You might be thinking that peace and justice doesn’t have a lot to do with how many trees there are. However, Goal 15 and Goal 16 are very closely related, especially when it comes to illegal poaching and trafficking, which is reported to be an 8 to 10 billion US dollar industry according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Target 15.7 aims to 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. Target 15.c also aims to do something similar – 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.
The Small Arms Survey in Switzerland looked into weapons trends in elephant and rhino poaching in Africa in their 2015 annual report. The results showed that there is a correlation between illegal arms flow and illegal poaching and trafficking. This addresses Target 16.4: By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organised crime. It is also important to note that the relationship between Target 15.7 and Target 16.4 is a two-way stream; there are many instances in which organised crime rings fund their operations through poached and trafficked products.
Corruption is also a factor which leads to increased poaching and trafficking. Target 16.5 aims to substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms. In June last year, a UN report confirmed that corrupt officials are at the heart of wildlife crime in many parts of the world.