Past project

The Search for a Multidimensional Biodiversity Index

Aspiration: Biodiversity health, and business and societal responses to it, can be measured and easily communicated, and resources are better allocated to regenerate biodiversity while ensuring human wellbeing.

What could revolutionise the way biodiversity data is collected, synthesised, understood and acted on, the way that ‘2 degrees Celsius' galvanised action on Climate Change?

In partnership with the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), the Luc Hoffmann Institute is incubating the idea of transforming how biodiversity is integrated into decision-making globally through a multidimensional biodiversity index (MBI). Learning from the successes and failures of economic and poverty indices, the institute is bringing diverse voices together to lay the foundations for the concept and raise awareness of its potential.

For this initiative, the Luc Hoffmann Institute partnered with the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).

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Key Themes:
  • Power and Legacy
  • Interdependence and Inclusivity
  • Operational and Funding Models
ronstik / AdobeStock

Multidimensional Biodiversity Index

In 2021, the Multidimensional Biodiversity Index (MBI), an initiative incubated and accelerated by the Luc Hoffmann Institute, grew into a global project to connect biodiversity science to the political agenda, accounting for the diversity of values underpinning nature–human relationships. The pilot began in March 2021 in Switzerland. Future projects are planned in South Africa, Vietnam and Mexico. A roadmap for implementation was published in 'Nature Sustainability' in July 2021.
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Latest highlights

August 2021
Research published in Nature Sustainability presents a co-produced Multidimensional Biodiversity Index to connect biodiversity science to the political agenda, accounting for the diversity of values underpinning nature–human relationships.
Towards a policy-smart and multidimensional biodiversity measure
Discussions begin with local actors, in Switzerland, Costa Rica, Viet Nam and Mexico on how to deliver pilot projects in countries to test the MBI.
February 2020
The Swiss Federal Department of Environment supports the development of the index for a three year project, and volunteers to have the concept tried in Switzerland.
© Jim Woodson
Several governments volunteer to conduct pilot projects in their countries (Switzerland, South Africa, Vietnam, Mexico, Costa Rica); Several countries and foundations also indicate an interest in funding the development of an index.
The United Nations Environment Programme Statistical Division helps integrating the index in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) reporting and considers becoming the index’s official custodian agency.
June 2019
“This is going to be important in designing policy interventions that can affect the trend [in species depletion] and hopefully turn it back.”

Adriana Conconi, Executive Director, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative at the convening on ‘Exploring a multidimensional biodiversity index’.
June 2019
“Some things are very difficult to count, but if we create an infrastructure for measuring biodiversity, then it begins to count for society and people start to see the impact.”

Pali Lehohla, former Statistician General of South Africa and Founder of the Pan-African Institute for Evidence at the convening on ‘Exploring a multidimensional biodiversity index’.
Laura / Pixabay
Luc Hoffmann Institute, UNEP-WCMC, and WWF convene diverse actors around the search for an MBI. Feedback following the convening indicates that the “single index” approach is feasible.
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For the first time, the notion of a multidimensional biodiversity index (MBI) emerges as an opportunity to better inform decision-making in the environmental sector.

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