Biodiverse production landscapes and seascapes that lie outside the protected area estate provide people with goods and services like food, pollination services, water, wood, energy and minerals. The use of natural resources in these landscapes and seascapes must be done sustainably in order to maintain biodiversity and the ecosystem goods and services it provides to society. Otherwise, resource users may unintentionally degrade the very resource they depend upon for their livelihoods. Read more+
While it is widely agreed that protected areas are the conservation community’s most successful management response to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity, thus far they can never be the entire solution to the biodiversity crisis. Much more needs to be done to conserve and sustainably use the vast majority of biodiversity that is located in production landscapes and seascapes outside of the global protected area estate.
What We Do
The GEF has for the past decade worked to embed biodiversity conservation and sustainability objectives in the management of wider production landscapes and seascapes through support to an array of policies, strategies and practices that engage key public and private sector actors in order to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity. This process, referred to as “biodiversity mainstreaming”, has focused primarily on the following suite of activities:
a) developing policy and regulatory frameworks that remove perverse subsidies and provide incentives for biodiversity-friendly land and resource use that remains productive but that does not degrade biodiversity
b) spatial and land-use planning to ensure that land and resource use is appropriately situated to maximize production without undermining or degrading biodiversity
c) improving and changing production practices to be more biodiversity friendly with a focus on sectors that have significant biodiversity impacts (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism, extractives)
d) piloting an array of financial mechanisms (certification, payment for environmental services, access and benefit sharing agreements, etc.) to provide financial incentives to actors to change current practices that may be degrading biodiversity. Read more+
The GEF will continue to support these activities during its current funding phase from 2014-2018, but with a renewed emphasis on ensuring that interventions are spatially targeted and thematically relevant to conserving or sustainably using globally significant biodiversity. Through more careful targeting, support under this program can better deliver multiple conservation outcomes: sustaining biodiversity in the production landscape and seascape, which will simultaneously secure the ecological integrity and sustainability of protected area systems.
Successful biodiversity mainstreaming in the GEF portfolio has been a long-term process, often requiring multiple and complementary projects that span numerous GEF funding phases. In order for biodiversity mainstreaming to achieve impacts at the scale necessary to advance the related Aichi Targets, a series of investments by the GEF and other donors within a larger-scale planning and management context may be required. Going forward, GEF investments will be required to frame the GEF’s support to biodiversity mainstreaming accordingly to increase the likelihood of success and impact.
From the mid-1990s to 2013, the GEF invested more than US$1.6 billion in 327 “biodiversity mainstreaming” projects in 135 countries, which generated another US$5.3 billion in financial support from other partners. GEF funds have provided biodiversity protection and planning for more than 350 million hectares of productive landscapes and seascapes. Read more+
The Grasslands Program in South Africa was funded by the GEF to mainstream biodiversity into the Grassland Biome with the intention of balancing biodiversity conservation and development imperatives in a production landscape focusing on agriculture, forestry and mining. The Programme’s mainstreaming interventions directly improved the condition of approximately 1.3 million ha. These included policy advice on agricultural laws and policies, piloting market-based mechanisms for environmentally friendly red-meat production, inclusion of biodiversity considerations into the national standard for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifications, the development of Mining and Biodiversity Guidelines and the piloting of Wetland Offset Guidelines.