Land is a vital resource to humankind, like air and water. Land degradation—the progressive deterioration or loss of the productive capacity of soils for present and future—is a global challenge that is intimately linked to key aspects of human security and well-being: food, jobs, health, and livelihoods. Land degradation affects everyone but most especially the poor and vulnerable through food insecurity, higher food prices, climate change, environmental hazards, and the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Comprehensive landscape approaches are the best way to address the broad, multi-faceted nature of land degradation across the range of agro-ecological and climatic zones. The GEF’s investments seek to address drivers of degradation through a holistic approach that delivers multiple benefits in reducing and reverting land degradation, conserving biodiversity, and mitigating and adapting to climate change. Therefore, GEF-funded projects and programs emphasize innovative and integrated approaches to sustainable land management (SLM). Such approaches can be scaled up to maximize global benefits for the environment. At the same time, they can help address issues related to biodiversity and climate change, and improve local livelihoods.