Can nature deliver on the sustainable development goals?


In 2015, the UN adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aiming to “protect the planet from degradation…so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.” Through the SDGs, the UN recognises that conservation directly supports human health and wellbeing by providing goods like water and fibre, and global public goods like habitat for species and mitigation of climate change. Although trade-offs can indeed arise between conservation and economic development, the Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on planetary health states unequivocally that “the environment has been the foundation of human flourishing,” suggesting that if environmental degradation persists then ongoing improvements in human health are likely to be reversed.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Brendan Fisher, World Wildlife Fund
Diego Herrera
Diane Adams, USAID and Rutgers University
Helen E. Fox
Louise Gallagher
Christopher D. Golden
Kiersten Johnson, Westat
Mark Mulligan, Kings College London
Samuel S. Myers
Robin Naidoo, World Wildlife Fund
Alexander Pfaff, Duke University
Ranaivo Rasolofoson
Elizabeth R. Selig
David Tickner
Timothy Treuer, Princeton University
Taylor Ricketts, University of Vermont
The Lancet. Planetary health

Related Content