Main Issue

Biodiversity is the variability among Earth’s terrestrial, freshwater, and marine organisms, as well as the ecosystems of which they are part. Biodiversity is crucial to the future of all life on the planet, and is also the foundation for the ecosystem goods and services that enable human societies to thrive. Biodiversity provides us with food, water, and materials, as well as services such as climate regulation, pollination, disaster protection, and nutrient cycling.  

Biodiversity thus is an indispensable asset that makes critical contributions to sustainable development. Managing this asset requires full engagement of governments at all levels, civil society organizations, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities, and others.   

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which came into force in 1993, is the global policy framework for action to maintain biodiversity for future generations. There has been some progress in conserving and sustainably using biodiversity and ecosystems at local and national levels over the past several decades, but not at the scale necessary to stem the ongoing tide of biodiversity loss. Changing the trajectory of biodiversity loss means addressing its five main direct drivers: habitat change; overexploitation or unsustainable use; invasive alien species; climate change; and pollution. These critical drivers of biodiversity loss are intensifying, particularly habitat loss driven by the expansion of agriculture. 

What We Do

The GEF provides financial resources for developing countries and countries with economies in transition to implement the CBD. The goal of the GEF’s biodiversity strategy is to maintain globally significant biodiversity in landscapes and seascapes. 

To achieve this goal, GEF investments focus on three main objectives:

  • Mainstream biodiversity across sectors as well as landscapes and seascapes;  
  • Address direct drivers to protect habitats and species; and  
  • Further develop biodiversity policy and institutional frameworks.

Support is primarily focused on 1) sustainably managing biodiversity in productive landscapes and seascapes and ensuring that the impact of productive sectors on biodiversity is avoided, or substantially reduced or minimized; 2) enhancing the effectiveness and sustainability of protected area systems; 3) supporting the complete and effective implementation of the Cartagena and Nagoya Protocols: and 4) improving biodiversity policy, planning, and review.  Please see GEF-7 Biodiversity Strategy for a detailed description of programing and investment opportunities.

Results

The GEF has invested more than US$3.5 billion to conserve biodiversity, and use it sustainably. This investment has leveraged over US$10 billion in additional funds, supporting 1,300 projects in more than 155 countries.  

GEF funds have improved the management of more than 860 million ha of protected areas and parks around the world, an area larger than the size of Brazil. We have also helped countries sustainably use and manage biodiversity within more than 350 million ha of productive landscapes and seascapes. 

The GEF has supported the development of National Biosafety Frameworks in 126 countries, and their subsequent implementation under the Cartagena Protocol. GEF support has also been critical in bringing into force the Nagoya Protocol, and a growing part of the portfolio is building country capacity to implement the Protocol.

Looking Ahead

Over the next four years (GEF-7), the goal of GEF’s biodiversity strategy will be to maintain globally significant biodiversity in landscapes and seascapes. To achieve this goal, GEF investments will contribute to the following objectives: 

  • Mainstream biodiversity across sectors as well as landscapes and seascapes;  
  • Address direct drivers to protect habitats and species; and  
  • Further develop biodiversity policy and institutional frameworks.

GEF support to biodiversity mainstreaming will focus on sustainably managing biodiversity in productive landscapes and seascapes and ensuring that the impact of productive sectors on biodiversity is avoided, or substantially reduced or minimized. This will require improved land-use planning, sectoral policies, and economic decision-making that are informed by the valuation of biodiversity and the ecosystem good and services that biodiversity provides to society in addition to improved biodiversity management approaches, including harnessing biodiversity for sustainable agriculture. In addition, GEF will continue to build capacity of countries to combat the illegal wildlife trade and the unsustainable use of species, with priority action on threatened species and wildlife.   

In order to addressing direct drivers to protect habitats and species, the GEF will support investments to enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of protected area systems primarily. In addition, GEF will continue to invest in the prevention and control of invasive alien species particularly in island ecosystems.

GEF will support the complete and effective implementation of the Cartagena and Nagoya Protocols and to improve biodiversity policy, planning, and review (enabling activities).

What's New