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Shaping the future of Landcare: UN goals and priorities for nature and climate 

18-08-2022 15:28

2022 is a significant milestone for nature and climate. It marks the halfway point of the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda, the global community’s ambitious, shared roadmap for sustainable development, of which Australia is a signatory. This means we have just seven years to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), yet we remain off-track on many important environmental indicators—from carbon to deforestation. Doubling down on the local action and initiatives for which the Landcare movement is renowned—and finding new ways to partner to roll out proven solutions at speed and scale—will be key to keeping our collective SDG ambitions alive in this ‘Decade of Action’ [1].

Three major UN events in particular look set to shape and guide on-the-ground Landcare efforts from this year out to 2030 and beyond. Firstly, the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), held in March 2022 concluded with 14 resolutions to curb pollution and protect and restore nature worldwide. As well as a multilaterally agreed definition of nature-based solutions, a landmark outcome was a treaty on plastic waste, hailed as the most important multilateral environmental deal since the Paris climate accord. [2].

Secondly, the UN Conference on Biodiversity in Kunming, China, underscored the pressing need to halt global decline of biodiversity and habitat fragmentation, underlining that putting biodiversity on the path to recovery is “a defining challenge of this decade” [3]. To realise the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity of ‘living in harmony with nature,’ the post-2020 global framework aims to shape “a future path for nature and people, where biodiversity is conserved and used sustainably, and the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources are shared fairly” [ibid]. Only by agreeing and achieving ambitious goals and targets within a truly global framework will we see the urgent and transformative change needed for a nature-positive world [4]. Country efforts and commitments are coalescing around a ‘30x30’ goal—to protect 30% of land and sea areas through well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures by 2030—with potentially far-reaching implications for how Australians manage natural resources and land use going forward.

A third notable UN milestone was Stockholm+50: ‘A healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity.’ Commemorating the golden jubilee of the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment and half a century of global environmental action since the creation of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), it also looked ahead to the actions needed to address what the UN Secretary-General calls our “number one existential threat”—the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity and nature loss, and pollution [5]. This is the focus of UNEP’s Medium-Term Strategy to 2025, in the hope that 2022 becomes a springboard for transformative shifts through green, post Covid-19 recovery plans and collective global action to deliver the SDGs [6]. Local action will of course be at the heart of this, and UNAA (NSW) stands ready to inform, inspire and engage more Australians in the UN agenda, and partner with the wider Landcare community to create a safer, fairer, more sustainable world.

United Nations, ‘Decade of Action,’ 2022 [Online]. Available: development/decade-of-action/. [Accessed 2022].
UNEP 50, ‘UN Environment Assembly concludes with 14 resolutions to curb pollution, protect and restore nature worldwide,’ 2022. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 2022].
Declaration from the High-Level Segment of the UN Biodiversity Conference 2020 (Part 1) under the theme: ‘Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.’ Retrieved from: IUCN (2022).
IUCN Closing Statement—part one of the UN Biodiversity Conference. Retrieved 2022 from:
UN Secretary General, 2021, ‘Opening remarks at press encounter on the Appointment of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to a Second Term of Office.’ Retrieved 2022 from: UNEP 50, ‘For People and Planet,’ 2022. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 2022].

A poster for the 2022 National Landcare Conference by United Nations Association of Australia (NSW).


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