For nearly 50 years, the IUCN Global Species Programme and the Species Survival Commission (SSC) has been assessing the conservation status of species, subspecies, and populations on a global and regional scale to highlight those threatened with extinction, to guide conservation action.

As it is not possible to evaluate all known species, IUCN and the SSC are working with partners to cover key taxonomic groups. The Biodiversity Assessment Initiative has been established as a collaborative effort between IUCN the SSC and the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International. It aims to provide an effective method for gathering and disseminating the most accurate scientific data available for biodiversity conservation.

IUCN and the SSC remain committed to providing the world with the most objective, scientifically-based information on the current status of global biodiversity. All assessment work carried out under the Biodiversity Assessment Initiative and other IUCN SSC  programmes feeds into the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.