FAO and the GEF

Partnering for Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment

When the local dairy supply centres closed because of the COVID-19 emergency, Alvaro Ramon, a cattle farmer and milk supplier in the Amazon region of Ecuador, was left with many gallons of milk and a spirit of solidarity. He decided to give away his surplus milk to help the families affected by the lockdown and the broken supply chain.

Nepal is one of the countries hardest hit by the impacts of climate change, and farmers are some of the worst affected. Poverty, reduced yields, and difficulty obtaining enough food are pushing people to migrate, looking for better lives. Taking part in the FAO-supported project, Ashmita and some 3,000 farmers learned to grow crops that are better adapted to the impacts of climate change and are now able to support themselves and their families.

Wheat is grown on more land area than any other commercial crop in the world. The modern cultivated crop can trace its origins to its wild relatives still found in the grasslands and the steppes of Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolia Region, a Vavilov centre of origin for wheat. The FAO-GEF project in the region has recorded six wild relatives of wheat and barley, two of which can only be found in Turkey’s steppe ecosystem.

The COVID-19 pandemic’s mobility restrictions have disrupted food supply chains in Peru, hindering access to traditional and nutritious food in urban areas. With the help of FAO’s GIAHS agro-biodiversity project, family farmers, belonging to several indigenous communities in rural parts of Peru, were able to send fresh food to their families in the cities, reviving the tradition of Apachicuy – which means “help the loved ones” in the Quechua language.

Land degradation affects almost 2 billion hectares of land that 1.5 billion people worldwide call home, representing an economic loss in the order of 10% of annual global gross product. With FAO and GEF’s support, three people in three different countries are applying effective nature-based solutions that to produce more food, feed, and fibre while conserving land for the next generations.

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) are landscapes of outstanding aesthetic beauty that have high agricultural biodiversity, contribute to ecosystem resilience and are a valuable part of our cultural heritage. Created in 2002 as a Global Partnership Initiative hosted by FAO, the main goal of the GIAHS Programme is to identify and safeguard these remarkable traditional agricultural systems.

Since 2016, FAO and the Government of Afghanistan have been implementing a GEF funded project to promote community-based forest management and sustainable approaches to biomass energy use, including the use of fuel-efficient stoves and anaerobic biogas digesters. The project is helping build national and community-level capacities and supporting the design and implementation of community-based management plans for forests and rangelands.

This project has enabled farmers to share knowledge on how to diversify production, improve soil health and fertility, determine the toleration limits of different species to temperature and rainfall, and choose more resilient seeds and varieties. Through agricultural adaptation measures carried out over 123 000 hectares, the project has helped improve the climate resilience of 41 000 smallholder farmers.

The FAO-GEF project, Sustainable Management of the Bay of Bengal (BoB) Large Marine Ecosystem (LME), is designed to enhance the regional management of the environment and the fisheries sector in order to improve the health of marine and coastal ecosystems and the living resources in the area, and better the lives of the coastal populations.

The project addresses the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. Its goal is to enhance the resilience of Kyrgyz forests and agricultural ecosystems to climate change. At the same time, it delivers multiple global environmental and socioeconomic benefits by sustaining flows of critical ecosystem services, such as regulatory processes related to climate and fresh water, the control of soil erosion and the management of natural hazards.

The project was designed to help farmers to produce more food, increase their incomes and improve the resilience of their livelihoods in the face of disasters. Sustainable and climate-resilient practices, such as the cultivation of drought-tolerant varieties of staple crops, conservation farming, agroforestry, tree planting, and contour and slope farming have been introduced and validated by farmers using the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach in combination with other innovative communication techniques.

A project by the Chilean Undersecretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Ministry of the Environment, FAO and the Global Environment Facility is helping reverse this trend by equipping the fishing and aquaculture sector adapt to climate change. The project trained 800 fishermen and fish farmers in productive diversification. They are incorporating new methodologies and techniques, which allows them to maintain or improve their income level.