These projects involve the intergrated land resource management with an emphasis on issues relating to desertification, loss of soil fertility and enhanced 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 Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD).
Land resources can suffer degradation from human activities, in turn affecting water and biological resources. Often, land degradation weakens the ability of communities to depend on their environment for their livelihoods. This is seen clearly when land resource potential is diminished through desertification and deforestation. Activities that contribute to land degradation include: soil erosion, denudation, pollution, loss of organic matter, fertility and vegetation cover, invasive species, habitat conversion (whether urban or agricultural) and aquifer degradation. UNDP-GEF projects in land degradation support countries in developing sustainable uses of land and policies for improved land use management.
The GEF/SGP will fund activities under LD that includes :
- Protect biodiversity and promote sustainable use in arid, semi-arid ecosystems, and
- Prevent deforestation and promote sustainable use and sustainable management of forests in order to conserve their biodiversity
- Integrated watershed management; soil conservation; afforestation; prevention of forest fires; and organic farming etc. Projects address policy and other barriers to mitigating land degradation (e.g. land tenure, access to natural resources)