Mapping Nature for People and Planet


A dynamic partnership using spatial data to map Essential Life Support Areas (ELSAs) for nature, climate, and sustainable development in countries around the world.

The UN Biodiversity Lab provides a platform where users can access the world’s best global and national spatial datasets. But how can decision-makers use these data to take action based on their specific national priorities? UNDP and partners are combining forces with select countries around the world to use these data to produce ‘maps of hope’ that identify where nature-based actions can safeguard essential life support areas (ELSAs) to maintain key biodiversity and ecosystem services. The project uses cutting-edge science to spatial data to place nature at the center of sustainable development. Initially piloted in Costa Rica, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Peru, and Uganda, the project has now expanded to include Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, and South Africa.

Essential Life Support Areas - ELSAs


UNDP works with partners to leverage advances in information and communication technologies, as well as cutting-edge science, to strengthen the capacity of policymakers to better manage their natural resources for people and the planet. Working together with an expert scientific advisory group and selected pilot countries, we build on the UN Biodiversity Lab to support countries to use spatial data to identify "Essential Life Support Areas" (ELSAs). Learn more!



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Country videos

Learn how the project is being used to support national priorities in our pilot countries in these vibrant 2-5 minute videos: