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GEF focal area: biodiversity.

Between July 1, 2005, and June 30, 2007, the GEF approved 80 new efforts in the area of biological diversity and biosafety, including two enabling activities. The total GEF grants approved in this area during the reporting period was approximately $385 million, significantly supplemented by an additional $1.5 billion generated in cofinancing from partners, including the GEF agencies, bilateral agencies, recipient countries, and the private sector.

Environmental Services Project in Mexico

The Environmental Services Project in Mexico protects globally significant forest and mountain ecosystems. It was initiated during the period with a grant from GEF of $15 million, and cofinancing of $166.8 million from GEF partner organizations. By using payments for ecosystem services to augment and diversify revenue for the management of Mexico's protected area system, the project aims to ensure the provision of environmental services that bring both national benefits, such as water services, and global benefits, such as biodiversity conservation and carbon capture. The projects' activities include establishing sustainable long-term financing mechanisms; establishing legal, institutional, and financial arrangements to pilot market-based mechanisms for payment for environmental services; and documenting links between land-use changes, water services improvements, and biodiversity conservation. Ultimately, it is expected that, as a result of the program, 200,000 hectares of forests and other natural ecosystems of global biodiversity significance will be under effective management by landowners in the buffer zones of protected areas and the corridors that connect them, including the Mexican portion of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

Wildlife Conflict Management and Biodiversity Conservation for Improved Rural Livelihoods in Botswana

This project has been designed to strengthen conservation, sustainable use, and mainstreaming of wildlife and biodiversity resources in Botswana's economic development. The project is aimed at enhancing biodiversity conservation in Botswana's northern wetland areas because of their exceptional but highly vulnerable biodiversity richness. Within this semiarid savannah ecosystem, biodiversity is concentrated in critical wetlands habitat found only in the northern part of the country in three primary wetlands: the Okavango Delta, Chobe Linyanti, and the Makgadikgadi Wetlands system. These wetlands identify an oasis of biodiversity resources increasingly under threat from overexploitation, wildlife conflict with communities, and agricultural transformation. Project sites focus on communities experiencing the highest level of wildlife conflict, engaged at some level in community-based natural resource management, and living adjacent to the protected area network in critical wetlands habitat.

The project assisted the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks in collaboration with local NGOs, Ngamiland and Chobe District governments, and key agencies in strengthening conservation, sustainable use, and mainstreaming considerations of wildlife and biodiversity in Botswana's economic development. Policy and institutional reforms include development of a National Wildlife Conflict Management Policy and Strategy, and a national community-based Wildlife Conflict Management and Early Warning System Framework. The project also strengthened CBNRM policy and the implementation (including developing the capacity of local CBOs and NGOs) and on-the-ground interventions in high-biodiversity and conflict areas; and it focused on livelihood-enhancing community participation in wildlife management, conflict resolution, and monitoring and evaluation. The project's objective was to reduce the incidence of wildlife conflict within the project area, by helping communities monitor, co-manage, and directly benefit from the sustainable use of biodiversity resources, as well as to strengthen Botswana's overall wildlife policy and institutional framework. (GEF: $5.8 million; Total project: $30.8 million.)

Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wild Relatives of Crops in China

Wild relatives of rice, soybeans, and wheat are significant for sustainable development in both China and the world. The China Agricultural Agenda 21 (1999) identified a large number of important in-situ conservation sites, but because of capacity and financial constraints, threats still exist at most sites. This project aimed at eliminating barriers to the mainstreaming of conservation of wild relatives within the agricultural sector, thus promoting integration of conservation and production, and ensuring that the global environmental benefits secured thereby are sustainable. The project involved participation from local stakeholders in eight diverse provinces and autonomous regions to secure conservation of wild relatives of soybean, wheat, and rice in their natural habitats. This was achieved through a combination of actions aimed at establishing sustainable sources of financial and other incentives for conservation, modification to the legal framework, capacity building, and awareness raising. (UNDP, GEF: $8.06 million; Total project: $20.9 million.)

Taking a Multifocal Approach to Deforestation Issues

In the latter part of the reporting period, the GEF initiated a sustainable forest management (SFM) program, addressing threats to forest ecosystems arising from a variety of sources. This multidisciplinary initiative draws upon the resources of three distinct GEF focal areas: biodiversity, climate change and land degradation. More than $44 million was invested during the first six months of the program, and the GEF has decided to create a new initiative designed to scale up its investments in high-biodiversity, highly forested countries. The newly created GEF SFM Tropical Forest Account (TFA) is starting to provide incentives for countries to direct part of their resources from the Resource Allocation Framework to SFM. TFA advances the GEF's three focal-area strategies by fostering a convergence of investments in high tropical forest cover regions. The initial target area comprises three regions of large, intact, tropical forest: Amazonia, the Congo Basin, and New Guinea/Borneo. Each of these regions has over 8 million hectares of wet broadleaf forest, and the 17 countries within them house 54 percent of tropical forest cover and contain 68 percent of tropical forest carbon.

Background on Biodiversity

The current rates of species extinction on our planet in the 21st century exceed the extinction rates experienced over the past hundreds of millions of years of geologic time by factors of 100 to 1,000 times. The environmental cost of this dangerous trend is staggering, as is the impact on the human communities that depend upon these natural plant and animal resources for their sustenance, particularly in the developing world.

Since 1991, the GEF has helped more than 150 countries reduce their rate of biodiversity loss, following the global policy framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). As of the end of FY 2007, the GEF has generated $8.6 billion in assistance, which consists of $2.4 billion in GEF investment and $6.15 billion in cofinancing from GEF partners worldwide.
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Title Annotation:Investing in Our Planet: GEF Annual Report 2006-07
Publication:Investing In Our Planet: GEF Annual Report 2006-07
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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