Ivon Cuadros Casanova

I have worked for scientific institutions and NGOs, in Colombia, Australia, Germany and Kenya which has enriched my understanding on the biological and socioeconomic aspects influencing biodiversity conservation outcomes under different scenarios, mainly in marine and terrestrial protected areas. By practical experience and field work, I have advanced knowledge in the design of ecological assessment studies and long-term monitoring programmes, and understand the key role of ecological based science to achieve natural resource sustainability. I am interested in a further understanding on the ecological, social and economic significance of ecosystem services supply, as a way to influence environmental policy and law enforcement. In a broader sense, in pursuing a career at the interface of science, society, and policy.

PhD project: How will halting biodiversity loss affect the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals?

Sustainable development has been defined as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". On 25 September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The 2030 Agenda is a “plan of action for people, planet and prosperity, peace and partnership” which all countries and stakeholders will implement collaboratively. The 2030 Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 specific targets that will guide decisions over the next 15 years. For sustainable development to be achieved, three key elements must be harmonized, i.e. economic growth, social inclusion and protection of the environment.

Currently, almost 29% of the species evaluated in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species are listed as threatened with extinction (IUCN 2016). For mammals, the percentage of threatened species as of 2016 is 26% (1208 out of 5536 species evaluated so far). Previous work demonstrated that these percentages are expected to steeply increase in the future in view of the forecasted levels of climate and land use changes (e.g. Jetz et al. 2007, Visconti et al. 2015), and applying scenarios is one of the most common methodologies used to produce future trends in biodiversity loss (e.g. by the CDB and IPBES).

The main objective of this project is to explore the positive and negative interactions between selected goals and targets to understand to what extent the achievement of some goals will affect the others, especially the ones directly or indirectly related to biodiversity conservation.  Although a comprehensive assessment of the interactions between all SDGs is not the aim of this PhD, it is important to understand the linkages between development and biodiversity conservation. For example, the PhD fellow will assess the implications of a scenario in which all currently globally threatened terrestrial mammal species would be considered of Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List – Goal 15 (Life on land) and the synergies and trade-offs this would create in relation to the achievement of other SDGs, in particular Goal 12 (Responsible consumption and production).

Related references

  • Griggs, D, et al. Policy: Sustainable development goals for people and planet. Nature 495.7441 (2013): 305-307.
  • Jetz, W, et al. Projected impacts of climate and land-use change on the global diversity of birds. PLoS biology 5.6 (2007): e157.
  • Rondinini, C, et al. Global habitat suitability models of terrestrial mammals. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 366.1578: (2011) 2633-2641.
  • Rondinini, C, and Visconti, P. Scenarios of large mammal loss in Europe for the 21st century. Conservation Biology 29.4 (2015): 1028-1036.
  • Visconti, P, et al. Projecting global biodiversity indicators under future development scenarios. Conservation Letters 9.1 (2016): 5-13.

 Academic Host

Sapienza Università di Roma
Rome, Italy
Carlo Rondinini


UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre
Cambridge, UK
Diego Juffe-Bignoli
Neil Burgess
Sapienza Università di Roma
Rome, Italy
Michela Pacifici
Member of the Student Thesis Committee
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Piero Visconti

Member of the Student Thesis Committee