Land is a vital resource to humankind, like air and water. Land degradation - the progressive deterioration or loss of the productive capacity of soils for present and future - is linked to key aspects of human security and well-being: food, jobs, health, and livelihoods.
Desertification - the extreme form of land degradation in drylands - already affects 3.5 billion people, especially rural communities, smallholder farmers, and the very poor.
Drought is one of the major drivers of global food and water insecurity, affecting crop and livestock production, and access to food and water. Drought can, in extreme cases, force people to abandon their land, and resort to migration as a last livelihood strategy.
Through innovative and integrated approaches to sustainable land management across the range of agro-ecological and climatic zones, the GEF aims to deliver multiple global environmental benefits in reducing and reverting land degradation, conserving biodiversity, and mitigating and adapting to climate change while creating local socioeconomic benefits and contributing to communities’ livelihoods.
This mandate relates directly to the GEF’s role as a financial mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The GEF actively supports the UNCCD’s voluntary Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) target and provides the opportunity for eligible countries to implement the UNCCD.