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A new expert committee on biodiversity just formed.

Biodiversity ensures life. It creates the air that we breathe, the food that we eat, the medicines that save lives and the water we so badly rely on. But over-exploitation of land and species, intensive farming, pollution and climate change have eroded biodiversity to the point that we are now faced with natural disasters, food and water shortages, zoonoses and more. Strengthening biodiversity, therefore, is fundamental to sustainable development.

Recognizing this, ISO has just formed a committee of experts from all over the world dedicated to developing standards that help organizations do just that. ISO/TC 331, Biodiversity, will be chaired by AFNOR, ISO’s member for France, and intends to provide a holistic approach by bringing together, and expanding on, existing national and international expertise to address biodiversity issues.

Committee Manager Caroline Lhuillery said the work of ISO/TC 331 will help to encourage organizations, including government and business, to embed biodiversity issues into their strategies, decision making and actions.

“Some three-quarters of the world’s land and two-thirds of the marine environment have been significantly modified by human intervention, creating real dangers for our populations,” she said.

A healthy and diverse coral reef grows near limestone islands in Raja Ampat, Indonesia.

“The desire is to turn the tables to create a healthier relationship between our economies and our ecosystems, a relationship that encourages the preservation of biodiversity while creating opportunities for sustainable development. A global approach is needed in order to achieve this.”

Future standards from the committee will include standardized terms and definitions to be used globally, methodologies for impact analysis, frameworks for defining strategies and action plans, monitoring and reporting tools, and more. ISO/TC 331 also intends to develop guidelines on specific biodiversity issues such as ecological engineering, nature-based solutions and relevant technologies.

The new committee’s outputs will be useful to national and local authorities, businesses and other relevant organizations to improve their current activities related to biodiversity and facilitate the development of new products and initiatives.

Use of the future standards will enable organizations to directly contribute to the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 14 (Life below Water) and SDG 15 (Life on Land). The committee’s work will also indirectly benefit the remaining SDGs, as all human activities depend on biodiversity.

Those interested in contributing to ISO/TC 331 should contact their national ISO member.

Related information

  • Celebrating World Environment Day
    “Time for Nature” is the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, highlighting that the time has come to take action to save our planet. A new ISO committee on biodiversity will help us all do …
  • Sustainable Development Goals
    Organizations and companies looking to contribute to the SDGs will find that International Standards provide effective tools to help them rise to the challenge.
  • SDG 13
    Climate Action
    Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • SDG 14
    Life Below Water
    Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • SDG 15
    Life on Land
    Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Climate change mitigation
    Climate change is the single largest threat facing humanity and biodiversity. ISO standards play a pivotal role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, especially CO2. This brochure describes the standards in the ISO 1406x series and how these contribute to the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

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Clare Naden
Clare Naden

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