Mapping biodiversity priorities: a practical, science-based approach to national biodiversity assessment and prioritisation to inform strategy and action planning

The UN Environment Program-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) have released a guide providing a practical, science-based approach to spatial biodiversity assessment and its prioritization meant to inform policy, strategy development and action planning. The guide enables countries that lack resources and/or data to use global data to generate information products for conservation and land use planning, in particular in the context of revising and implementing their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The guide aims to address several issues that have affected CBD parties' progress on NBSAP development and implementation, such as a lack of resources and capacity to generate adequate spatial data for biodiversity assessment. It demonstrates how countries can use globally available spatial data on ecosystem types, ecological conditions, protected areas and biodiversity targets for ecosystem types to assess the status and protection levels of each ecosystem and select geographic areas for priority conservation action. The approach can also be used to generate a range of information products showing threatened and under-protected areas as well as guidelines for end-users.