Global Environmental Benefits

GEF investments are predicated on the delivery of global environmental benefits in biodiversity, climate change mitigation, international waters, land degradation and forests, and chemicals and waste. Increasingly, GEF is seeking to deliver multiple environmental benefits through integrated investments across the various dimensions of the global environment.


Global environmental benefits resulting from GEF’s biodiversity financing include:

  • Conservation of globally significant biodiversity;
  • Sustainable use of the components of globally significant biodiversity; and
  • Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources.

Climate Change Mitigation

Global environmental benefit in the Climate Change Mitigation focal area is the sustainable mitigation of the concentration of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. Specifically, it includes:

  • Mitigated GHG emissions;
  • Increased use of renewable energy and decreased use of fossil energy resources;
  • Improved energy efficiency;
  • Increased adoption of innovative technologies and management practices for GHG emission reduction and carbon sequestration; and
  • Conservation and enhanced carbon stocks in agriculture, forest, and other land use.

Land Degradation

Global environmental benefits resulting from GEF’s focus on land degradation focal area, specifically addressing desertification and deforestation, include:

  • Improved provision of agro-ecosystem and forest ecosystem goods and services;
  • Mitigated/avoided greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon sequestration in production landscapes;
  • Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in productive landscapes; and
  • Reduced pollution and siltation of international waters.

International Waters

Global environmental benefits targeted by GEF’s work in international waters relate to transboundary concerns, including:

  • Multi-state cooperation to reduce threats to international waters;
  • Reduced pollution load in international waters from nutrient enrichment and other land-based activities;
  • Restored and sustained freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems goods and services, including globally significant biodiversity, as well as maintained capacity of natural systems to sequester carbon; and
  • Reduced vulnerability to climate variability and climate-related risks, and increased ecosystem resilience.

Chemicals and Waste

GEF’s long term goal in chemicals and waste is to prevent the exposure of humans and the environment to harmful chemicals and waste of global importance, including persistent organic pollutants, mercury and ozone depleting substances, through a significant reduction in the production, use, consumption and emissions/releases of those chemicals and waste. Global environmental benefits resulting from GEF’s objectives in the area of chemicals and waste include:

  • Protected human health and environment through the reduction and elimination of mercury use and prevention of anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds;
  • Protected human health and environment through the phase out of production and consumption of ozone depleting substances;
  • Reduced risks on human health and the environment through reducing and eliminating production, use and releases of Persistent Organic Pollutants and their waste; and
  • Reduced risks on human health and the environment through sound management of chemicals and waste of global concern.

Sustainable Forest Management/REDD+

Multiple global environmental benefits addressing the emphasis placed by UNFCCC, CBD and UNCCD on the importance of conservation, sustainable use and management of forests, include:

  • Reduction in forest loss and forest degradation;
  • Maintenance of the range of environmental services and products derived from forests; and
  • Enhanced sustainable livelihoods for local communities and forest-dependent peoples.