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Climate Change

Global Environment Facility (GEF)

With 35 percent of the earth’s land used for crops and pastures, another 30 percent covered by forests and a full 70 percent of abstracted fresh water used by agriculture, there is no question that agriculture needs to be at the centre of any discussion on natural resources management and global environmental objectives. Meanwhile, with the global population set to exceed 9 billion by 2050, the challenge is to sustainably intensify food production by 60 percent over the same time period, while maintaining the natural resource base for future generations.

FAO is an implementing agency of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an international co-financing mechanism that provides grants to countries to invest in global environmental projects addressing the critical nexus between agriculture and the environment. This includes climate change, biodiversity, land degradation, international waters and chemicals. The Investment Centre is home to the GEF Coordination Unit, which manages the FAO-GEF portfolio. The portfolio has rapidly grown since 2002, with now over 120 projects in over 55 countries and a total GEF grant investment value approaching USD 466 million. 

Success Stories

Integrated land and water management

Farmers in the Kagera River Basin are turning degraded areas into healthy, productive land. Through innovative farmer field schools and participatory diagnostic approaches at landscape level, communities have been analysing and addressing their land, water and livelihood needs. The Kagera Transboundary Agro-ecosystem Management project works with local partners and family farmers reliant on the river basin’s resources, which are shared by four countries (Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda). Farmers learn and apply integrated soil fertility management techniques, energy saving technologies, soil and water conservation, crop and livestock integration, agroforestry and pasture management. There are now 3,500 men and women graduates from 121 farmer field schools working at scale to revitalize the soil and feed and strengthen the resilience of their communities.


Sound pesticide management

FAO estimates there are about 500,000 tonnes of obsolete pesticides in developing countries, including 200,000 tonnes in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, making this region the most affected area in the world.  With the support of FAO and GEF, countries have identified obsolete pesticide stocks and have initiated their elimination. In Azerbaijan and Belarus, 250 tonnes of dangerous pesticides were safeguarded. With support from the European Union and other partners, a further 1,000 tonnes will soon be removed from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Kyrgyz Republic and Moldova. The project furthermore supports countries across the entire region in developing sound pest and pesticide management plans and techniques in agriculture. 


Climate change adaptation

In the Deccan plateau region of southern India, a project popularly known as the Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems Project has become a model for managing land and water resources. The project has strengthened the capacity of farmer groups, networks, farmer federations, participating NGOs and other development actors to reverse environmental degradation and adapt to climate change in drought-stricken areas. With nine hydrological units spread over 143 habitations covering over 134,000 hectares and affecting a population of more than 204,500, the project has engaged communities to create a platform for community-based management of groundwater and cropping systems. The communities are adapting the management of these systems to increased climate variability affecting, in particular, the hydrological cycle in the drought-prone area.