Main Issue

Land is the foundation for all life-sustaining processes on the planet. It provides us with food and water. It helps us manage environmental risks such as floods and drought. It supports natural processes such as soil formation and nutrient cycling. And it offers opportunities for social and cultural activities. In economic terms, land benefits billions of people, including a large proportion that depends entirely on farming and forest products for their livelihood. For all these reasons, it’s imperative to maintain sustained and productive use of land. Read more+

What We Do

The GEF recognizes that billions of people depend on land — from the drylands of Africa and Asia to the sub-tropical grasslands of South America. Our investments to arrest and reverse desertification and deforestation cover a wide range sectors — from crop and livestock production to water resource management. We see enormous potential for a “triple win”: increased production, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and enhanced climate resilience through adaptation.

In the long run, our investments will not only help sustain agriculture and forests, they will reduce vulnerability to climate change. Since environmental degradation is a serious threat to global security, our work can also help reduce tensions between farmers and pastoralists. It may even help reverse migration patterns toward urban areas and abroad. Read more+


Since 2006, when land degradation became a focal area, the GEF has invested more than US$876 million in resources for at least 190 projects and programs that encourage use of sustainable land management practices (SLM) to support national and regional development priorities. Our investments have greatly enhanced the potential for restoring degraded land. And our work in land degradation supports other focal areas such as Biodiversity and Climate Change by generating multiple benefits.

The intrusion of salt water into Senegal’s Groundnut Basin combined with recurrent droughts have led to impoverishment, food insecurity and the subsequent migration of land users. With support from the GEF, the government of Senegal improved the soil through crops that involved use of the peanut shell (which is rich in calcium ions and enhances infiltration capacity), and the integration of adaptive species into salt-affected areas. Through a participatory process, the project tested peanut shells with two staple food crops — millet and maize production — and showed significantly high yields.