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GEF Land Degradation Strategy

Agriculture covers 38% of the planet’s land area. Just over half of this production area is moderately or severely affected by land degradation. Each year 5 to 10 million hectares of land completely lose their production capacity, due largely to the impact of unsustainable land management on soil productivity and health. More than 2 billion people, including some of the world’s poorest smallholders and pastoralists, are affected globally. Land degradation, if not brought under control, threatens the livelihoods of rural populations in many regions and contributes to undermining the planet's life support systems.

The goal of the land degradation focal area is to arrest and reverse current global trends in land degradation, specifically desertification and deforestation, by promoting good practices conducive to Sustainable Land Management (SLM). Such practices generate global environmental benefits while creating local and national socio-economic benefits.

The primary approach for GEF-6 will be to address priorities that represent the best opportunity for supporting agriculture, livestock management, and forest landscape restoration to underpin rural livelihoods. This 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; and
  • Mainstream SLM in sustainable development.

As a result, the LD focal area will contribute to sustainable management of land, soil, water, and vegetative cover to generate multiple global environment benefits. The focal area approach will also create opportunities for scaling-up successful interventions to benefit millions of land users.


GEF-6 Land Degradation Strategy

Objectives and Programs


Objective 1: Maintain or improve flow of agro-ecosystem services to sustain food production and livelihoods

  • Program 1: Agro-ecological Intensification
    Agro-ecological methods and approaches including conservation agriculture;
    Improving rangeland management,  sustainable pastoralism and Integrated watershed management.
  • Program 2: SLM for Climate-Smart Agriculture
    Improving/Mitigating  impacts of climate change;
    Diversification of crops and livestock production systems.

Objective 2: Generate sustainable flows of ecosystem services from forests, including in drylands 

  • Program 3: Landscape, Management and Restoration
    Sustainable management of forests and agroforestry for increased ecosystem services;
    Landscape regeneration through use of locally adaptive species and good practices in community and small-holder land management.

Objective 3: Reduce pressures on natural resources by managing competing land uses in broader landscapes 


  • Program 4: Scaling-up sustainable land management through the Landscape Approach
    Institutional capacity development and institutional finance for SLM;
    Reduce pressures between land use systems and improving agricultural land management near protected areas;

Objective 4: Maximize transformational impact through mainstreaming of SLM for agro-ecosystem services 

  • Program 5: Mainstreaming SLM in Development
    Incorporating SLM in public-private investments;
    Securing innovative financing mechanism and scaling-up best practices for landscape regeneration. 

Read the full GEF-6 LD strategy here >>


Previous Land Degradation Strategies: