The objective of the land degradation focal area is to reverse and prevent desertification and land degradation and to mitigate the effects of drought in affected areas. SGP projects aim to improve agricultural management to maintain the cover and functionality of agro-ecosystems, and forest ecosystems in dryland areas. Activities supported mainly target rural communities, which are highly dependent on agro-ecosystems and forest ecosystems for their livelihoods.
Global environmental problems as defined by the GEF are the loss of biological diversity, climate change and pollution of international waters. Land Degradation, primarily deforestation and desertification, was eligible for funding during the first decade of GEF if related to the above-mentioned three GEF Focal Areas. In October 2002, the GEF Assembly approved Land Degradation as a new focal area taking into account the objectives of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
A typical project supported by GEF SGP should prioritize the improvement and maintenance of ecosystem functions as well as the capacity development of the local communities in order to improve their rational use and to make better decisions on the management of such landscapes so that ultimately, the community’s livelihoods can be improved. Modern farming techniques are also introduced to reduce the loss of farmland and boost food production. A number of projects address policy and other barriers to mitigating land degradation (e.g., land tenure, access to natural resources).
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