Annual Review 2018-19

Putting nature at the heart of decision-making

Rhino, Nairobi skyline, Nairobi National Park, Kenya Thomas Jepson Lay, AdobeStock
The UNEP-WCMC team has long been a key part of UN Environment, and the past year has been no exception. We extend our huge congratulations on UNEP-WCMC’s 40th anniversary and look forward to continuing to work together for many years to come.
Joyce Msuya, UN Environment Programme Deputy Executive Director
I’m constantly amazed by the wide variety of work that we’re doing across the planet – and the commitment of everyone here to our mission of securing a future for the world’s biodiversity.
Robin Bidwell, Chair of WCMC Board of Trustees
Building on our 40 years of core support to governments around the world, we're launching new areas of work, including leading a £20-million UKRI GCRF Trade, Development and the Environment Hub, which aims to reduce the impact of unsustainable trade on biodiversity.
Neville Ash, Director of UNEP-WCMC

40th Anniversary

2019 is the 40th anniversary of UNEP-WCMC. To celebrate, we have been bringing together key players from the worlds of policy, the private sector and conservation in a series of events to further instil biodiversity at the heart of decision-making.

UNEP-WCMC offices, Cambridge, UK UNEP-WCMC, Stephanie Foote

We can make change

Our work

In the past year we’ve launched a range of projects and initiatives, helping inform decision makers on everything from financial investments to seagrass restoration.

Rice farmer thekob5123, AdobeStock
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A live portal into our protected planet

In November 2018 we joined with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and National Geographic to launch Protected Planet Live, a portal into the very latest information on protected areas around the globe.

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Gold medal for mapping impacts of biodiversity

The Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) allows business to view and analyse some of the world’s most authoritative global biodiversity information. Recently, the International Olympic Committee has signed up, using it to screen potential host cities.

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Dusky Grouper, Spain. Credit: damedias -
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Marine restoration from Turkey to Norway

The oceans and coastal habitats provide us with food, protect us from extreme weather, and soak up carbon. They’re facing increasing pressures around the world, however, so we’re working throughout Europe to help restore these valuable environments.

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Plugging nature into the private sector

Businesses are central to reversing the decline of nature. However, in the past it has been difficult for them to fully understand their relationship with the environment and biodiversity. In November we therefore joined with the Natural Capital Finance Alliance to launch ENCORE, helping financial institutions to determine, for the first time ever, the dependence of over 150 economic sectors on nature.

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Shea nuts and leaves. Credit: luisapuccini, AdobeStock
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The value of nature - starting with a nut

The natural world is critical to Uganda’s economy and the wellbeing of its people, providing essential support for food security, tourism, and livelihoods around the country. Traditional ways of looking at economic progress, however, can neglect or exclude the values that nature provides. We therefore worked with partners to identify and highlight trends in the ‘stocks’ of several of Uganda’s biodiversity-related natural resources - with concrete consequences for the Shea nut.

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Helping Viet Nam get ready for REDD+

Escalating climate change and biodiversity loss are global challenges, with decision makers at both national and international levels faced with creating and implementing solutions. Last year we helped Viet Nam to take a key step and become one of the first countries to complete a fundamental part of preparing for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). It is now eligible to receive payments in return for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

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Making policy waves with marine data

The ocean covers more than 70% of the planet, regulating our weather, storing carbon, and providing us with food. It is threatened, however, by a wide range of pressures including climate change, overharvesting, pollution, and development. In 2018 we therefore launched Ocean+ - a portal into ocean data that makes it as easy as possible for decision makers to understand and account for the ocean’s value.

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Bee. Credit: Tristan, AdobeStock
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Giving nature a new platform for change

All countries that have signed up to the Convention on Biological Diversity have to report on their progress on implementing the Convention. Compiling relevant information to measure progress is, however, often a challenge. We therefore joined with NatureServe to launch the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (BIP) Dashboard last November, bringing key biodiversity measurements to life and helping governments measure impact and progress.

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Countries and territories worked with in 2018
Infographic showing the countries UNEP-WCMC has worked with

The designation employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or any of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.



Live projects


Funders and partners


Published papers

Icon 132

Number of staff at UNEP-WCMC

13 of whom started as interns



Paid interns





Our Policy Relevance: UN Biodiversity Conference references to the Centre and our work

At the 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference 19 references were made to the Centre and our work, in eight different Conference decisions.

Cumulative no. of references to the Centre and our work in UN Biodiversity Conference decisions Cumulative no. of UN Biodiversity Conference decisions in which they occur

Financial overview

Total Income

2017: £8,779,000

2018: £11,074,000

2017 2018

Total Expenditure £8,959,000 £11,320,000
Net movement in funds -£180,000 -£246,000
Total assests less liabilities £3,944,000 £3,699,000
Cat Tien National Park, Viet Nam (dry season) Antonel, AdobeStock

Moving forward

Thank you very much for reading our Annual Review.

The past 40 years of UNEP-WCMC’s history have shown what can be accomplished when we work together. We look forward to bringing our experience and expertise to bear into the future, including as the global community moves towards determining the next decade of goals for the natural world, and as global consciousness on the big environmental challenges of our time continues to grow.

Please visit our website to learn about how we could work together to confront the challenges facing our world’s biodiversity, whether that’s through joining our team, building a collaboration or extending a partnership. Together, for the benefit of people and nature, We Can Make Change.

UNEP-WCMC website
Springbok Okavango Delta, Botswana ondrejprosicky, AdobeStock