Main Issue

People are already consuming at a rate faster than the planet can replenish. Yet the world’s population is expected to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050. Thus, the demand for energy, transport, buildings and food will only increase in the years ahead. Agriculture will need to meet the growing demand for food — projected to increase by 70 percent by mid-century. But agriculture already leaves a large harmful footprint on the environment. The global challenge, then, is to find sustainable ways to feed a growing population. We need a model that places natural capital at the heart of investment decisions for long-term sustainability and resilience. Read more+ Africa likely faces the greatest challenge to feed a growing population both adequately and sustainably. It has a chronic food deficit, the lowest crop yields in the world and poor soil quality. One-quarter of its people are already undernourished, and its population is expected to double by 2050, which will only increase demand for food. On top of all this, climate change is expected to affect the region severely because it is dominated by small farms with few assets and limited capacities to adapt.

What We Do

The GEF believes that Africa’s smallholder farmers can meet the sharp increase in demand for food without compromising natural capital and vital ecosystem services. To achieve these twin goals, African countries need policies and practices that will ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of their production systems for food security. This is very much in line with aspirations of African leaders as expressed in the Malabo Declaration of 2014.

In 2015, to test our thinking, we launched a new flagship program on food security. Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa focuses on safeguarding the natural resources — land, water, soils, trees and genetic resources — that underpin food and nutrition security. The GEF, along with a variety of partners, is investing more than US$900 million over five years for the program. Read more+


The program will foster sustainability and resilience for food security by creating or strengthening institutional frameworks, scaling up integrated approaches, and monitoring and assessment of global environmental benefits. This will contribute to maintaining globally significant biodiversity and the ecosystem goods and services, bringing 1.1 million hectares (ha) of landscapes under improved production practices, and an additional 2.1 million ha under sustainable land management. It will also support a transformational shift towards a low emission and resilient development path, mitigating 59 million metric tonnes of carbon.

$1.2 billion

To strengthen food security

3.2 million

Hectares of land under improved production and sustainable management practices

59 million

Tonnes of carbon to be mitigated