The Triple Challenge: synergies, trade-offs and integrated responses for climate, biodiversity, and human wellbeing goals

William Baldwin-Cantello, Dave Tickner, Mark H. Wright, Michael Clark, Stephen Cornelius, Karen Ellis, Angela Francis, Jaboury Ghazoul, James E. Gordon, Nathanial Matthews, E.J. Milner-Gulland, Pete Smith, Simon Walmsley, Lucy Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Humankind faces a Triple Challenge: averting dangerous climate change, reversing biodiversity loss, and supporting the wellbeing of a growing population. Action to address each of these issues is inherently dependent on action to address the others. Local, national, and international policy goals on climate change, biological diversity, and human wellbeing have been set. Current implementation measures are insufficient to meet these goals, but the Triple Challenge can still be met if governments, corporations, and other stakeholders take a holistic perspective on management of land and waters. To inform this effort, we identify a set of priority policy responses drawn from recent international assessments that, whilst not being the only potential solutions,
can form the core of such a holistic approach. We do this through an iterative process drawing using three methodological approaches: i) structured literature review; ii) deliberative expert analysis; and iii) wider consultation, before synthesising into this paper. Context-appropriate implementation of responses will be needed to capitalise on potential policy synergies and to ensure that unavoidable trade-offs between management of land and waters for climate
mitigation, biodiversity restoration and human wellbeing outcomes are made explicit. We also set out four approaches to managing trade-offs that can promote fair and just transitions: (1) social and economic policy pivoting towards ‘inclusive wealth’, (2) more integrated policymaking across the three areas; (3) ‘Triple Challenge dialogues’ among state and non-state actors; and (4) a new
research portfolio to underpin (1), (2) and (3).
Original languageEnglish
JournalClimate policy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 Jan 2023


  • Climate change
  • biodiversity
  • human wellbeing
  • trade-off(s)
  • synergy
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Paris agreement


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