The key strategic priorities of the focal area are three of which the GEF SGP aims at supporting the realization of the two. These are: i) maintaining and improving services coming out of ecosystems that help in sustaining local communities livelihoods, and ii) support in the reduction of pressures on natural resources that are contributed by natural or manmade actors in the areas where degradation impacts their daily needs. The third strategic priority, which by default is also addressed, although much more specifically in the drylands zones, includes sustaining the livelihoods of forest dependent peoples who eke their living from goods and services provided by the forests themselves and other animals therein.
Types of projects supported by SGP
The types of projects that GEF SGP typically supports within the strategic priority on improving and maintaining ecosystem functions aims at capacity development of the local communities 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. Further, the programme aims at implementing integrated approaches to enhance soil fertility, management of water resources, crops and livestock within a farm household. In rangeland ecosystems, the projects that are targeted will aim at regulating livestock pressure on rangeland resources and encouraging rotational grazing systems. Conversely, for the sustainable priority on reduction of pressures from landscapes, the projects encouraged will include: improvement of agricultural activities near protected areas systems, management of watershed lands, working with communities to avoid deforestation and degradation of forest lands while generally building capacity of communities to maintain continual provision of services and goods from their local environment.
Main achievements of the portfolio since 1992
Overall, the Land degradation focal area has grown rapidly since 1992. The LD portfolio comprised only a few (15) projects in 1995 but has grown to 1,979 projects to date (2012). This portfolio is funded by up to total grant amounts of $52 million with almost a similar amount of $59 million of co-financing from both cash and in kind contributions. These investments have contributed to about over 520,000 hectares of land being sustainably managed by the communities themselves.