All life on Earth depends on clean air and water, biodiversity, and healthy forests, land, oceans and a stable climate. These global commons—the ecosystems, biomes and processes that regulate the stability and resilience of the Earth system—are the very foundation of our global economy and modern society. Today, they are facing an all-too familiar tragedy of over-exploitation and rapid degradation.

Scientists warn that the “planetary boundaries”, that have ensured the stable conditions that have enabled all civilizations to form and prosper over the last 11,000 years are being strained, and in some cases, exceeded. Several of the planetary boundaries have already been breached.

To stay within the planetary boundaries, a radical transformation of key economic systems will be required.  We need to transform food, urban, and energy systems, and move to a circular economy.  Business as usual will guarantee disaster; incremental change will not suffice. The only solution is transformational change. GEF-7 seeks to help catalyze economic systems change to tackle the major drivers of environmental degradation, consistent with the GEF 2020 Strategy. 

The Guardian GEF Partner Zone

Many partners are adding their voices to the Global Commons Initiative. As part of The Guardian's Development 2030 campaign, we sponsored the “GEF Partner Zone” where leaders in the sustainable development community highlighted the state of the global commons and how to address the challenges we face to put the SDGs into practice.

GEF-Telegraph Partnership

The GEF and The Telegraph online newspaper have come together to encourage businesses to play their part in tackling some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues and building lasting prosperity.

Global Commons Alliance

Global Commons Alliance logo

The Global Commons Alliance is an international network that aims to ensure our planet remains habitable.  It is comprised of four parts:

The Earth Commission -- A select team of scientists to synthesize the latest research, anticipate tipping points and assess the limits of the entire Earth system. Read the press release: Earth Commission to Identify Risks, Guardrails, and Targets for the Planet.

Science Based Targets Network - A group of international NGOs to turn the science into practical applications for companies and cities to set goals for operating within Earth’s limits.

Systems Change – Building new partnerships to transform our food system, green our cities, decarbonize the global energy system, and move towards a circular economy.

Earth HQ - A media portal for the planet, to connect people across the globe and share the big picture of how all Earth systems are performing and tracking progress towards solutions.