2011-2020 has been declared by the UN General Assembly as the 'International Decade for Biodiversity'. Biodiversity provides us with food, fuel, medicine, shelter and a cultural and spiritual connection to nature. In 2005, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment assessed the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being delivering a state-of-the-art appraisal of the trends in the world's ecosystems, the services they provide, as well as the scientific basis for action to conserve and use them sustainably.

The United Nations has called upon its specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and civil society everywhere to act to protect biodiversity as the natural wealth that exists in life on Earth. For UNDP, one of the foundations for sustainable human development is by acknowledging the importance biodiversity and ecosystems play in sustaining the livelihoods of local communities. This can be achieved by demonstrating the crucial services provided by ecosystems, and in making a social and economic case for investing in and maintaining these vital services.

As the financial mechanism for the Convention on Biological Diversity, the overall goal of the GEF for biodiversity for the GEF5 period, running from 2010 to 2014, is "the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the maintenance of ecosystem goods and services". In order to support this goal, the SGP seeks to "improve the sustainability of protected area systems", as well as to "mainstream biodiversity conservation and sustainable use into production landscapes/seascapes and sectors".

Since its launch in 1992, the SGP has funded practical, hands-on, demonstration projects and grass-roots initiatives by NGOs, CBOs and indigenous peoples which promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in target ecosystems and landscapes. As of mid-2012, SGP programming for biodiversity has supported more than 7,800 community-based biodiversity projects totaling $185 million, leveraging a further $139 million in cash co-financing, and $137 million in in-kind contributions. In the process, approximately 1.9 million hectares of globally significant biodiversity areas have been protected or sustainably managed by NGO, CBO and indigenous peoples.

Eligible SGP activities are restricted to in situ conservation of species, and cannot support ex situ initiatives outside their natural habitats (i.e. botanical gardens, zoos, or museums). All SGP biodiversity projects are expected to be located in geographic areas that contain globally significant biodiversity, and/or have focused on reducing threats to biodiversity identified within the SGP Country Programme Strategy which address the following key questions:

Protected areas (PAs) are defined by IUCN as "a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values". At the conclusion of the CBD COP10 in October 2010 state parties adopted a decision to expand the global coverage of protected areas (PAs) from 12% to 17% by 2020 (including a reference to "other effective area-based conservation approaches" such as ICCAs).

Numerous SGP country programmes have contributed to improved community-level actions and practices, and reduced negative impacts on biodiversity resources in and around PAs and ICCAs. The SGP works closely with the global ICCA Consortium, developed through the work of various IUCN Commissions, as well as the global ICCA Registry hosted by UNEP-WCMC which is also responsible for the World Database on Protected Areas. Pilot initiatives are also underway to develop SGP projects supporting the sustainable use of biodiversity and Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) arrangements under the Nagoya Protocol, as well as the Inter-Governmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) created in March 2012.

In the area of agrobiodiversity and production landscapes/seascapes, SGP supports initiatives on improved community-level sustainable use of biodiversity through community-based initiatives, frameworks and market mechanisms, including recognized environmental standards (organic certification, fair trade, Rainforest Alliance, bird friendly), as well as for the conservation of genetic resources important to agriculture covered by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic resources Important for Food and Agriculture. In most countries, SGP has also contributed significantly to increased understanding and awareness of the sustainable use of biodiversity through work with youth and schools.

Typical SGP activities in production landscapes have included: ecosystem protection through pollination, seed dispersal and pest control; maintenance of traditional knowledge (TK), innovations and practices; integration of set-asides for biodiversity protection in compatible agro-forestry and silvo-pastoral systems; promotion of seed banks and community biodiversity registers; improved effectiveness of traditional farming systems for conservation of locally-adapted landraces in Vavilov Centers; as well as conservation of neglected crop and fodder species.

Some key SGP partnerships in the biodiversity focal area include COMPACT; support to small producer organizations with the UNDP Green Commodities facility; Conservation International Verde Ventures programme; the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research; Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty; Progreso Network; and the International Union of Ethical Biotrade.

The SGP also collaborates closely with the Secretariat of the CBD in relation to Biodiversity for Local Livelihoods; the Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA); the Green Wave Initiative; support to indigenous peoples and protection of traditional knowledge and practices (Article 8j); customary use (Article 10c); as well as the joint programme of work with UNESCO regarding the links between biological and cultural diversity.

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Biodiversity Snapshot (Since 1992)

12438 # of Projects

US$ 335,904,059 Total Grant Amount

US$ 183,094,843 Total cash Co-Financing

US$ 237,257,446 Total In-Kind Co-Financing

Portfolio By Region

Asia & the Pacific
Arab States
Europe & the CIS
Latin America & the Caribbean
Global Publications
Kota Kinabalu workshop reports from 6 Working Groups, 2nd Asia Parks Congress
Goma Declaration from the 1st sub-regional ICCA Assembly in Central Africa
Kota Kinabalu Declaration from the 2nd Asia Parks Congress (2022)
The GEF Small Grants Programme: Local Action, Global Impact
Youth in Action: Experiences from the Small Grants Programme
Otras Medidas Efectivas de Conservación Basadas en Áreas (OMEC): guía para su identificación, fortalecimiento y reporte en Colombia
L’état des terres et territoires des Peuples autochtones et des Communautés locales
El estado de las tierras y territorios de los Pueblos Indígenas y las Comunidades Locales
O estado das terras e territórios dos Povos Indígenas e das Comunidades Locais
IPLC quotes on the State of IPLC lands and territories report
The state of Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ lands and territories report
Hali ya ardhi na maeneo ya Jamii za Watu Asili na Jamii za Karibu
Small Grants Programme: 25 Years of Engagement with Indigenous Peoples
The GEF Small Grants Programme Result Report 2018 - 2019
Toolkit for the Indicators of Resilience in Socio-Ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes
The GEF Small Grants Programme Results Report 2018 - 2019
Legal Analysis Report for ICCAs in Viet Nam
Stocktaking, Coordination and Development of Monitoring Plan Meeting for achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 by 2020 Workshop
The GEF Small Grants Programme in Least Development Countries (LDCs): Fact-sheet 2017 - 2018
The GEF Small Grants Programme in Small Island Developing States (SIDS): Fact-sheet 2017 - 2018
The GEF Small Grants Programme in Pacific: Fact-sheet 2017 - 2018
The GEF Small Grants Programme in Arab States: Fact-sheet 2017 - 2018
The GEF Small Grants Programme in Latin America and Caribbean: Fact-sheet 2017 - 2018
The GEF Small Grants Programme in Europe and CIS : Fact-sheet 2017 - 2018
The GEF Small Grants Programme in Asia: Fact-sheet 2017 - 2018
The GEF Small Grants Programme in Africa: Fact-sheet 2017 - 2018
Women as Environmental Stewards: The Experience of the Small Grants Programme
Assessing Landscape Resilience: Best practices and lessons learned from the COMDEKS Programme
The GEF Small Grants Programme Results Report 2017 - 2018
SGP Annual Monitoring Report 2016 - 2017
Global Support Initiative to ICCAs Brochure
SGP 25th anniversary: Local action, global impact
COMDEKS: Developing and promoting agro-ecological innovations to address agroecological resilience in production landscapes
SGP corporate brochure, 2017
Manual de datos para TICCAS
Manuel des données d' ICCA
ICCA Data Manual
Herramientas de apoyo para la conservación por pueblos indígenas y comunidades locales (Spanish version of ICCA Toolkit)
Community Approaches to Sustainable Land Management and Agroecology Practices
Community Based REDD+
Making Waves: Community Solutions, Sustainable Oceans
Small Grants Programme Annual Monitoring Report 2015 - 2016
Une trousse à outils d’appui à la conservation par les populations autochtones et les communautés locales (French version of ICCA Toolkit)
Une trousse à outils d’appui à la conservation par les populations autochtones et les communautés locales (French version of ICCA Toolkit)
Small Grants Programme Corporate Brochure - 2015
Scaling up Community Actions for International Waters Management
A toolkit to support conservation by indigenous peoples and local communities: Building capacity and sharing knowledge for Indigenous Peoples and Community Conserved Territories and Areas -ICCAs
SGP Community Action Global Impact
Hands-on Action for Sustainable Development 1192-2002
The GEF and Civil Society Organizations: A Strategic Partnership
Compact - Engaging Local Communities in Stewardship of Globally Significant Protected Areas
Biodiversity Products From Latin America and the Caribbean
Case Studies
Kazakhstan: Green Practices of Kazakhstan
Cameroon: Promoting biodiversity conservation through sustainable Livelihood Options
Cultivating Tara Trees to Prevent Landslides in Lima
Biodiversity Conservation - Sagana Women's Group
Climate Change Mitigation and Biodiversity
Sagana Womens Group
Address Land Encroachment and Over Exploitation


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