In most developing countries, sustainable land management (SLM) opens up major opportunities for both the environment and the people who depend on it. SLM enables farmers to intensify existing land more sustainably, enhancing productivity without degrading land resources. It also ensures improved management of agro-ecosystem services across production systems, reduces pressure on natural resources and helps improve and sustain economic productivity and environmental sustainability. Read more+
For many countries, the challenge of achieving SLM comes down to short-term profit over long-term sustainability. Decision-makers, for example, will often replace natural forests with plantations or farm land. Those ready to adopt SLM approaches may face economic, institutional or other kinds of barriers, and lack knowledge and technology innovations to overcome them.
The three Rio Conventions have overlapping concerns regarding biodiversity loss, land degradation and deforestation, including implications for livelihoods and food security. As a result, there is potential for greater synergy among the CBD, UNCCD and UNFCCC. Through adoption of SLM, countries can implement the conventions in a collaborative way that address climate change, introduce renewable energy technologies and combat deforestation.
What We Do
As financing mechanism of the Rio Conventions, the GEF is the world’s largest source of funding for sustainable land management. We focus on desertification and deforestation through removal of economic, policy, knowledge and institutional barriers to SLM. In so doing, we help build a foundation to improve the livelihood of millions or rural people who rely on agriculture to survive.
The GEF has been a major catalyst of innovations in sustainable land management. Such innovative approaches, for example, have helped conserve biodiversity and agrobiodiversity, reduced risk of pollution and degradation of water resources and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and increased sustainability and resiliency. Our investments in SLM can serve as an important entry point to promote climate-smart agriculture and food security. Read more+
The GEF channels most of its investments in SLM through the Land Degradation focal area. Our priorities are linked to the UNCDD objectives, enabling countries to deliver on commitments toward implementation of the convention. We help strengthen national-level processes for SLM such as capacity building, institutional collaboration, knowledge management and mainstreaming across sectors. On the ground, GEF projects improve livelihoods and economic well-being of local communities, as well as preserve or restore ecosystems.
Our priority in GEF-6 (2014-2018) is to invest in the best opportunities for supporting agriculture, livestock management and forest landscape restoration. Together, these investments will help strengthen the foundation of rural livelihoods. This, in turn, will directly address the need to:
- reinforce SLM for enhancing resilience in agro-ecosystems
- harness and maintain ecosystem services for agro-ecological intensification
- promote integrated management of production landscapes
- mainstream SLM in sustainable development.
We are targeting 120 million ha for SLM coverage globally. This includes potential coverage across crop, rangeland and forest landscapes in affected regions.
Since 2002, the GEF has invested close to US$0.5 billion in more than 100 integrated land management projects. These funds have leveraged another US$2 billion from partners. Together, the GEF's SLM portfolio has placed over 103 million hectares under sustainable land management, benefitting more than 50 million smallholders. Our achievements have reinforced humanity’s capacity to harness goods and services from nature and transform them into sustainable production landscapes.
The Great Green Wall Initiative is “greening” Africa from west to east by planting a wall of trees to tackle desertification. In so doing, it is helping communities in the sustainable management and use of their forests, rangelands and other natural resources. By 2016, some 500,000 ha of lands or forests were being managed sustainably. This was contributing to better carbon sequestration and increased resilience of the region’s ecosystems and livelihoods. To date, at least 600,000 people have benefited.