Story | 13 Jul, 2023

The IUCN Contributions for Nature platform

Last year, IUCN launched a new data visualisation tool that allows its Members to log and quantify how their projects could contribute to global conservation goals. Unite for Nature explores the benefits of using it, and how to get started

Nature platform

The global conservation community has been working tirelessly towards a range of international environmental goals for many decades. However, until recently, there have been few ways of collectively documenting and understanding all this work: where and when environmental projects are being implemented, by whom, and how much they are contributing towards global goals, such as the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Last year, IUCN launched its Contributions for Nature platform, providing a simple way for IUCN Members and constituents to document where they are undertaking (or planning to undertake) conservation and restoration actions. The platform collates information on projects both large and small, and calculates how specific actions in specific places will contribute towards a range of global biodiversity and climate goals.

Since launching in October, almost 10,000 contributions from more than 130 organisations have been added to Contributions for Nature, represented as an ever-growing number of bright blue patches on the platform’s map of the world. IUCN targets having at least 70% of its Members adding at least one input to the Contributions for Nature platform by October 2023, helping to create a powerful tool to quantify, understand and showcase the totality of conservation efforts being conducted by the Union’s Members.

The quantitative nature of the platform will complement IUCN’s Panorama platform, which documents success stories in conservation and Nature-based Solutions in a qualitative format. The next phase of its development will be to extend the Contributions for Nature platform’s focus to cover other programme areas, such as aquatic environments, in addition to the current ones of land and climate.

How it works

The Contributions for Nature portal has been developed to be as simple as possible to use, and requires only eight pieces of information from organisations, some of which are optional or can be added later. Users start by logging in and selecting the area in which they are working. Users can draw a shape directly onto the map, select existing protected areas or key biodiversity areas, upload geographic information files or select a single point with a km2 radius.

The platform automatically uses the STAR metric (Species Threat Abatement and Restoration, based on IUCN Red List information) to quantify the potential for species extinction risk reduction through threat mitigation and habitat restoration in the area selected. The metric also provides a breakdown of the relative risk of different threats, including deforestation, mining, habitat alteration or hunting.

Data from the Restoration Barometer (also known as the Bonn Challenge Barometer) gives a value for the potential for habitat restoration to mitigate against climate change in the area. This allows users to see how their work contributes to the total possible conservation or restoration of biodiversity in their area and to the nature-based mitigation of climate change.

The platform not only shows the potential contribution of individual conservation and restoration actions, but also the metrics for entire countries and regions. For example, the platform shows how one project in Honduras (see case studies) could potentially deliver 5% of the extinction risk reduction possible for the entire nation; that the nation in turn could deliver 2% of the total contribution from across the Americas; and, in turn, the Americas in total represents 44% of the world’s potential contribution towards safeguarding species.

Users are asked to input the conservation, restoration or climate mitigation actions they are undertaking, and the date of their actions (which must be starting or ending in this decade, 2020-30). Other optional data to input includes a budget (either the budget secured or estimated budget required), information on staff numbers and gender balance working on the project, and the estimated number of people that would be beneficiaries of the project – which may have a far wider reach than the geographic location. Users can also add images and other background documents on their projects, and tag other partners helping to deliver the potential contribution.

The information is then submitted for validation by IUCN Regional office staff. Once this is done, the contribution is made visible to anyone visiting the platform. IUCN National and Regional offices can also help provide support and training where necessary.

Why contribute?

IUCN Members, Commissions and Secretariat can document their actions, quantify how their work contributes to global targets, and visualise how their work intersects with that of other organisations in the area. The platform provides a way to showcase organisations’ work and explore the potential for collaborations with other groups working nearby.

The quantification of contributions towards global goals can also help organisations communicate their work, and can help inform resource allocation and calls for funding. For government agencies or state members, the platform can help to understand what organisations are doing in their territories, and where gaps exist at regional or national levels.

Ultimately, the platforms are helping all types of Members and the entire Union understand and monitor the delivery of conservation efforts as we approach the crucial year of 2030 and beyond.

Contributions for Nature 2

Visit to add your organisation’s contributions to global goals.