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Indicator 15.5.1 Red List Index


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Headline data

Source: United Nations

Geographical Area: United Kingdom

Unit of Measurement: Red List Index

This table provides metadata for the actual indicator available from UK statistics closest to the corresponding global SDG indicator. Please note that even when the global SDG indicator is fully available from UK statistics, this table should be consulted for information on national methodology and other UK-specific metadata information.

Indicator available
Indicator description

Data presented are those provided by BirdLife International and the IUCN (2020) to the UN. The Red List Index is based on global estimates of the extinction risk (IUCN Red List categories) of all mammals, birds, amphibians, corals and cycads, derived from local and national data, disaggregated to the national scale and weighted by the proportion of each species’s distribution in the country or region (in this case the UK).

Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Unit of measurement

Red List Index


IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

IUCN Red List - The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is internationally recognised as the most respected and robust inventory of global species conservation status. It provides a standard and repeatable method for assessing the extinction risk status of thousands of animal, fungus and plant species.

Available disaggregations

No calculations were performed in the data acquisition of this indicator as appropriate data was readily available in the final format specified by this indicator. For detail on calculations made prior to acquisition see the global metadata.

Other information

The Red List Index value ranges from 1 (all species are categorised as ‘Least Concern’) to 0 (all species are categorised as ‘Extinct’), and so indicates how far the set of species has moved overall towards extinction. A downward trend in the Red List Index over time means that the expected rate of future species extinctions is worsening (i.e. the rate of biodiversity loss is increasing). An upward trend means that the expected rate of species extinctions is abating (i.e. the rate of biodiversity loss is decreasing), and a horizontal line means that the expected rate of species extinctions is remaining the same, although in each of these cases it does not mean that biodiversity loss has stopped. An upward Red List Index trend would indicate that the SDG Target 15.5 of reducing the degradation of natural habitats and protecting threatened species is on track. A Red List Index value of 1 would indicate that biodiversity loss has been halted.

The Red List Index reported here is based on global classifications for each species. In other words this Index does not indicate risk of extinction within the UK, but rather, risk of global extinction of species found within the UK.

More detailed information on trends in UK Biodiversity, including information on the National Red List can be found in the State of Nature Report.

The Red List Index is based on quantitative objective categories and criteria. To avoid spurious results from biased selection of species, the Red List Index is calculated from taxonomic groups for which all species have been assessed and reassessed, and, for taxonomic groups that that do not fulfil this criteria, species that are representatively sampled. Changes between categories reflect geniune improvement or deterioration in status, not as a consequence of changes in taxonomy or knowledge.

The Red List Index is calculated on an annual basis, however, this does not reflect re-assessment of all species, as species are not assessed every year. The full methodology, and information on limitations can be found in the global metadata and references therin.

Data follows the UN specification for this indicator. This indicator has been identified in collaboration with topic experts.

Data last updated 2020-10-16: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window
Metadata last updated 2020-10-16: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window

This table provides information on metadata for SDG indicators as defined by the UN Statistical Commission. Complete global metadata is provided by the UN Statistics Division.

Indicator name

Red List Index

Target name

Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species

Global indicator description
UN designated tier

Tier I

UN custodian agency

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), BirdLife International (BLI)

Link to UN metadata United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Metadata (PDF 440 KB) opens in a new window

United Nations



Earliest available data


Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Link to data source UN SDG indicator database opens in a new window
Release date
Next release


Statistical classification


Contact details

Other information

To navigate to the data select ‘15.5’ from the Data Series, and ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ from Countries, then click ‘Show table’. Download the excel file using the button below the table for more information, including upper and lower bounds. The original data source is BirdLife International and IUCN (2020).