UN Biodiversity Social Network Analysis

Published: 16 May 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/tmjt3rnhm3.1
Matilda Dunn,


This research sought to analyse the United Nations' network of System-wide programmes on biodiversity in order to identify; (1) the influential UN entities within this system, (2) how different UN entities work together on biodiversity programmes, and (3) how this structure impact the function of the network to support global biodiversity outcomes. Utilising data collected from a 2017 UN-wide survey and systematic review of UN databases conducted in 2021; we compiled a database of 124 programmes related to biodiversity which involved multiple UN entities working together. Each programme was then categorised into a different type of partnership; co-authorship, collaborative partnership or coordinated activity. Using this data, we created a network of UN-wide biodiversity partnerships where the “nodes” were individual UN entities and the “edges” were biodiversity partnerships. An analysis of this network revealed that these system-wide biodiversity programmes are centralised and dense, highlighting the critical role of UNEP, FAO and UNDP as lead actors and bridge-builders. We detail how these network characteristics can have both supportive and opposing influences on the function of collaborations and coordination efforts and highlight the potential barriers facing the UN’s system-wide work in supporting member states within this final decade of action on biodiversity.



Imperial College London


Biodiversity, Social Network Analysis, Governance, Systems Theory, Organisation Theory


UK Research and Innovation