Governments are confronted with a range of economic, ecological, and political choices in achieving sustainable forest management (SFM). Countries with forest resources face three major challenges: how to avoid further deforestation; how to improve management of forest resources and avoid practices that continue to degrade forests; and how to restore forest landscapes that have been degraded. Only by addressing these challenges simultaneously can the sustainable flow of forest goods and ecosystem services be achieved.

The GEF recognizes the critical role of forests in sustaining biodiversity and stabilizing Earth’s climate. For that reason, in keeping with its role as financial mechanism of the Rio Conventions, the GEF puts forests at the core of its support to help countries implement the Conventions. The GEF supports all eligible countries in their efforts to enhance SFM. 

Targeted forests can range from tropical rainforests, dry forests, and cloud forests to primary forests, peat forests, and mangrove forests. These forests can differ both in terms of ecology and degradation levels. Nevertheless, among the various types, the GEF emphasizes primary forests. These are particularly important due to their irrecoverable value and high potential to provide multiple environmental services and global environmental benefits (GEBs) for humanity.  

Through its forest strategy, the GEF is uniquely placed to be an efficient partner of choice for national governments, donors, development agencies, civil society, and the private sector in preserving forest landscapes and their environmental services. Considering global policy changes, and emerging new initiatives and issues, the GEF’s forest strategy has evolved over the past three decades. This document presents the GEF’s long-term vision and the current strategic focus of its work on forests, which will be reviewed and updated during the GEF-9 replenishment.

The GEF is vital and relevant for global efforts to enhance SFM and continues to be a major source of financial support for preserving, managing, and restoring forests at global scale.

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