Land Degradation

Land degradation focal area of the GEF SGP is informed by the previous activities of the millennium ecosystems assessments and specifically targets directly the realization of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Indirectly, this focal area also helps in the realization of the Non legal binding instrument of the convention on all forests types of the United Nations forum on forests (UNFF). Desertification and deforestation remains the main priority of the GEF SGP in this focal area and it aims at improving agro-ecosystems and forest landscapes where deterioration of ecosystems services and goods undermines the livelihoods of many people. A majority of these people are the very poor. This problem manifests itself prominently in the dryland ecosystems where climate change impacts further exacerbates the predicaments of the rural poor.

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.

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Land Degradation Snapshot (Since 1992)
# of Projects 3944
Total Grant Amount US$ 112,642,011
Total cash Co-Financing US$ 67,157,393
Total In-Kind Co-Financing US$ 72,781,963

Portfolio By Region

Asia & the Pacific
Arab States
Europe & the CIS
Latin America & the Caribbean
Global Publications
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General Brochure about the SMall Grants Programme. Where we work, how to apply, areas of work and results.

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Case Studies
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Located in Lima’s El Agustino district - One hundred local women organized themselves to rehabilitate the river Rimac banks and surrounding hills with Tara trees and other medicinal plants. An artificial wetland with a biofilter was also created to cleanse the water for irrigation. 
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Located in the mountain range of Apante Hill, a protected area, five communities carried out a project to address local deforestation and land degradation. The main strategies were the introduction of an eco-stove that requires less firewood and training in improved agricultural practices. The proje
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Ecuador IP and Forests ( Wednesday, 16 May 2012 )
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clean energy forests and indigenous people case study- indonesia - ld- cc _ ip-1.jpg
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addressing land encroachment and over exploitation- panama-1.jpg
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September 2015 - Equator Prize 2015

SGP grantee partner Rural Green Environmental Organization is one of the Awardees of Equator Prize 2015

Rural Green Environmental Organization has implemented the GEF SGP funded project AFG/SGP/OP4/Y3/RAF/13/06.

September 2015 - Equator Prize 2015

SGP grantee partner the South Central Peoples’ Development Association (SCPDA) is one of the Awardees of Equator Prize 2015

the South Central Peoples’ Development Association (SCPDA) has implemented the GEF SGP funded project GUY/SGP/OP5/Y2/CORE/2013/07

June 2014 - Equator Prize 2014

The receiver of this Award is SGP grantee partner Jeffrey Town Farmers' Association.

Jeffrey Town Farmers' Association has implemented the GEF SGP funded projects JAM/SGP/OP5/1/CORE/CC/11/04 and JAM/OP4/1/CORE/07/01

2012 - Best Performance Awards. Ministry of Forestry and Land Reclamation

SGP Grantees have been recognized, among other groups and individuals, by the Ministry of Forestry and Land Reclamation, as contributors to the overall environment and natural resources management particularly in the programmes being promoted by the Ministry. This is an annual event whereby the Ministry assesses initiatives by communities in all the 10 districts of Lesotho and then gives awards in the form of trophies and certificates and some farm implements, to those groups that are making a positive impact on the environment and on their peers. The SGP grantees were in the category of Herder Groups.

The awards ceremony was held at a central point and the Berea District awardees decided to hold a special ceremony in their district to share their glory with their local communities. Therefore the District ceremony that was officiated by the District Administrator and graced by the presence of the Minister of Forestry and Land Reclamation, Hon Kabelo Mafura and the Principal Secretary of the same ministry and other senior officials, was held on Friday 23rd, March 2012.

2011 - UNEP Sasakawa Prize to MDI-NEPAL

2010-11 Sasakawa Prize winners bring Forest Management and Sustainable Development to Rural Communities in Latin America and Asia

Nairobi (Kenya), 23 February 2011 - Two projects conserving forests and promoting sustainable development in remote rural communities of Latin America and Asia are the laureates of the 2010-11 UNEP Sasakawa Prize, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.

The Asociación Forestal Integral San Andrés, Petén (AFISAP) in Guatemala and the Manahari Development Institute in Nepal (MDI-Nepal) are the co-winners of this year's award around the theme "Forests for People, Forests for Green Growth" in support of the 2010-11 International Year of the Forests.

The theme highlights the central role of forests in the pursuit of a global Green Economy as key economic resources whose real value has all too often been excluded in national accounts of profit and loss. Estimates from The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) indicate that deforestation and forest degradation are likely costing the global economy between US$2.5 and US$4.5 trillion a year, more than the losses of the recent and ongoing financial crisis.

Both co-winners met a majority of the criteria outlined by the theme. Specifically:

  • Promoting the conservation and sustainable management of forests;
  • Contributing to a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation;
  • Maintaining forest ecosystems to improve resilience to climate change;
  • Supporting pro-poor development, especially among forest-dependent communities;
  • Conserving biodiversity and helping secure ecosystem services. 
2011 - UNEP Eco-peace Leadership Center (EPLC) Research Grant Award

Manahari Development Institute (MDI) has been awarded with US $ 2,000 as a research grant from UNEP Eco-peace Leadership Center (EPLC) in partnership with Kwangon National University of South Korea to conduct research work on "Conservation Agriculture in Sloping Uplands affected through Shifting Cultivation Practices". This grant will be used for developing a sustainable farming system in the sloping hills. The research work will be carried out in Chuwarpakha village in Handikhola VDC-7 of Makawanpur district in the central region of Nepal.

2011 - SEED Award

Won by Association des Veuves Vulnerables Affectees et Infectees par le VIH/SIDA (AVVAIS) a.s.b.l. - AVVAIS a.s.b.l. (Non-government Organization) : GEF SGP Rwanda is also pleased to inform you that the only winner from Rwanda is a GEF SGP grantee (OP4/Y3). "Project for producing edible mushroom spores" is pioneering the local production of primary mushroom spores through a laboratory run by a cooperative of HIV-infected women and widows. Supported by international organizations and local government authorities, the initiative will make mushroom production accessible to vulnerable members of rural communities as a profitable and high-yield crop requiring little land.

2011 - National Award

SGP project Azaghar, which received an national award for its pilot date-processing & marketing workshop. Le projet contribue à la conservation de la palmeraie qui est actuellement menacée de dégradation et de désertification, les palmiers dattiers de la zone ne sont pas entretenus à cause du manque des revenus au niveau local.

La mise en place d'une unité de transformation des dattes permet de générer des revenus pour les agriculteurs. Une partie de ses revenus sera utilisée pour la plantation et l'entretien des palmiers dattiers par les agriculteurs.

Cette unité permet également de mettre en place un fonds vert renouvelable qui sera constitué à partir des bénéfices. Ce fonds sera mis en place à partir de 2011 et sera consacré à l'autofinancement d'actions de lutte contre la dégradation des sols et d'atténuation de changements climatiques.

A titre d'exemples, ce fonds financera :

• Des actions de sensibilisation et de formation sur l'agriculture biologique et l'agriculture durable

• Des actions d'économie d'eau

• La plantation de palmier dattier et d'arbres fruitiers

• L'aménagement de ravins par la fixation biologique des sols

• L'introduction de four à gaz : réduction de la quantité du bois disponible, corvée pour la femme qui doit se déplacer de 15 Km pour collecter le bois.

L'ensemble de ces actions aura un impact sur l'environnement global à travers la conservation d'une palmeraie, élément essentiel pour la survie de l'écosystème et de la population.

2010 - UNEP Eco-peace Leadership Center (EPLC) Research Grant Award

Manahari Development Institute (MDI) has been awarded with US $ 1,500 as a research grant from UNEP Eco-peace Leadership Center (EPLC) in partnership with Kwangon National University of South Korea to conduct research work on "Conservation Agriculture in Sloping Uplands affected through Shifting Cultivation Practices". This grant will be used for developing a sustainable farming system in the sloping hills. The research work will be carried out in Chuwarpkha village in Handikhola VDC-7 of Makawanpur district in the central region of Nepal.

2010 - SEED Award

SGP Grantee Tema Cooperative Sunflower Producers Society received the award for the project Biofuel Production in Promoting Sustainable Land Management. "Biofuel Production in Promoting Sustainable Land Management". A local NGO in partnership with national research institutions has established a model for rehabilitating degraded community lands, producing food crop and utilizing renewable energy through the cultivation and processing of sunflower plants into oil and biodiesel. Their sustainable land management approach also includes bee-keeping.

2010 - Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award

CREED has been selected as one among the best three NGOs for the Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award. The announcement was made by the Ministry on the eve of Birth Anniversary of Late Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi. This Seva award is conferred on three individuals every year who make outstanding contribution in the fields of Child Protection, Environment, Child Development and Child Welfare. This selection for the award is made by a National Selection Committee which is chaired by the Minister of State for Women and Child Development Smt.Krishna Tirath.

2010 - Premio Provincial del Ministerio Ciencia, Tecnología y Medio Ambiente

Won by Apoyo a la Conservacion del Medio Ambiente y Potenciacion de la Economia del Consejo Popular Coralillo. Premiado por su impacto ambiental y sostenibilidad.

2010 - India Water Digest Award

Society for Sustainable Development (SSD) won the India Water Digest Award in the category of: - Commendable Water NGO - Revival Of rural Water Resources. They received the award on 9th Jan 2010.

2010 - Ford Conservation and Environmental Grants

Ford Motor Company announced the winners of its 2010 Conservation and Environmental Grants, China (CEGC) program at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and awarded the cash grants totaling RMB1.5 million to 28 Chinese environmental NGOs and individuals to fund the further development of their projects. The project site is located in the western part of China, southern edge of Mu Us Desert and at the junction zone of Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia and inner Mongolia. It is a typical semi-arid area of semi-agricultural and semi-pastoral areas. Drought, water shortage, desertification, and over consumption of natural resources are the main problems that the local farmers are facing. The project aims to promote an environmental sustainable development way to the local farmers by a series activities: 1) Promote rural environment-friendly facilities including energy-saving stoves, energy-saving heatable brick beds, solar heating houses, solar stoves and "trinity" biogas facilities to help farmers to establish various household ecological model. 2) Implement alternative livelihood activities such as building sheep stall and microbial storage feed tank, artificially planting grass and planting economic forest with the purpose to reduce human destroy behavior on the grassland.3)Plant windbreak to reduce wind and sand damage to crops and to increase the rate of forest coverage and farmers' income.4) Support women and family industry development through providing local women with micro-credit finance to promote farmers' income. 5.) Establish New Energy Facility Maintenance Group in the project area. 6) Raise farmers' environmental awareness, especially on renewable energy using and climate change thorugh training and workshop.

2010 - FAO En Busca de Casos Ejemplares de Manejo Forestal Sostenible en América Latina y el Caribe

Reconocimiento otorgado por la FAO a la Asociación de Protección de los Bosques Secos de El Choloque – ASPROBOS, por las buenas prácticas del manejo forestal y su contribución a la sostenibilidad de los bosques.

2009 - Sello Bicentenario

Won by Centro Comunal del Medio Ambiente (Naturaleza Viva) : On October 7th, at the presidential palace "La Moneda", at its "Patio de las Camelias", over one hundred attendees were present at the award-giving by Chile´s President Michele Bachelet, for the 9 projects selected from over 100 eligible candidates for the "Sello Bicentenario". María Contreras spoke on behalf of the winner, "Naturaleza Viva Center", executing agent of the project "Recovery in degraded land area of Villa Francia". This Project is funded by the SGP/GEF Chile from 2006 to 2009".

2009 - Outstanding Democratic villages Award

Won by Pluak Ngarm Village, Phitsanuloke Province. The village was awarded for its outstanding participatory process in community development from the Office of the Prime Minister's Department of Public Relation.

2009 - National Project from Ministry of Jihad Agriculture on World Land Degradation Day

Won by GEF SGP Project "Empowerment of Local Community of Nardien in Semnan Province for Preventing Flood Through Participatory Land Management."

2009 - III National Prize for the Citizen Excellence and Golden Citizen Award

SGP grantee Las Piedras, a nonprofit organization that manages the Centro de Atención a la Infancia y a la Familia "Las Almendras" won this award for its dedication in promoting a net of family vegetable gardens a project supported by SGP called "Huerta Orgánica familiar y uso de energía solar".

2008 - Equator Initiative Award

The Asociación de Artesanas de Arbolsol y Huaca de Barro del distrito de Mórrope was one of the winners of the 2008 Equator Initiative Awards. The Asociación was Founded by local women in 2003.  The group has worked to recover traditional methods of cotton production that are environmentally responsible and to create positive socio-economic change in the region. The association oversees the planting and harvesting of native cotton varieties using only pesticides from natural sources. In addition to cotton production, the association has been active in managing water resources. Traditional colours of native cotton have been recovered, water resources have been cleaned as a result of better management, and organic cotton is produced for local markets. The group, which began as a women's organization, has now expanded to include the whole community.

2007 - SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development

SGP Grantee Nueva Vida won the Award for its project "Reintroducing and commercializing native Andean agricultural crops" in Riobamba, Cantón Colta. The effects are to diversify food production, improve local food security and reduce soil degradation. The partnership sells surplus yield in the form of jams, and chocolates through a women's organisation it has created in three communities. View the Award.

2007 - National Environment Award

The government of Honduras awarded "The Association of Indigenous Women" of Moskitia, the annual National Environment Award for their contribution to the sustainable management of natural resources. The group counts approximately 600 single mothers and spouses of disabled divers of the Moskitia ethnic group, in the department of Gracias a Dios. These women have transformed their community by creating development projects aiming at protecting the environment by recycling solid waste. The project also generates income to their families. The award includes a trophy, a diploma and 75,000 Lempiras or US $3,970 to be used to acquire different types of equipments for their project.

2007 - Best Practices Competition in Sustainable Development of Central Asia

The project works in conservation and rehabilitation of habitat of reptiles (Central Asian Tortoise) included in The Red Book of Kyrgyzstan. The community based organization Jamaat "Aichurok" is leading the project. So far the project results in biodiversity are that 50 hectares with mating places in the center are protected by the community itself, which in turn has started the rehabilitation of natural wood and grass vegetation, increased the birds population and reduced the risk of fires.

2006 - Equator Prize Winner

COPRONAT, represented by Mrs. Woulimata Thiao, President, was selected among 25 winners.

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Mr. Charles Nyandiga
Programme Advisor on Land Degradation and Sustainable Forest Management, and Community Based Adaptation Coordinator
Phone: +1 646 781 4390
Fax: +1 646 781 4075


304 East 45th Street, 9th Floor , New York, NY 10017