IUCN priorities for the GEF-IUCN partnership

In submitting funding requests to the Global Environment Facility, the IUCN Secretariat aims to prioritise concepts and projects that:

  • Have a regional or global approach involving several countries;
  • Build on IUCN’s knowledge products and recommendations, both at the design and implementation stages;
  • Focus on activities that increase awareness of ecosystem management and restoration among stakeholders and promote sustainable nature-based governance and management; 
  • Build on national priorities (policies, commitments to international conventions, strategic plans and national budgets) but also help create global environmental benefits;
  • Collaborate with other agencies and donors to add value to proposed activities and contribute funds;
  • Take advantage of government investments in conservation and sustainable development to meet co-financing required by the GEF and ensure sustainability and resilience of these investments;
  • Cover several focal areas simultaneously to enhance biodiversity conservation through nature-based solutions;
  • Address systematically cross-cutting issues, in particular
    • Gender equality: Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment is integral to IUCN’s mission. Gender considerations are mainstreamed in programmes and projects through a comprehensive set of guidelines.
    • The rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities to secure their livelihoods and maintain their cultural identity.
    • Strong representation of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental organisations (NGOs): IUCN’s membership is truly diverse, representing both governmental and non-governmental organisations. This key strength of IUCN is reflected in its field work and will be harnessed in GEF investments. IUCN seeks to broaden the opportunities for trusted CSOs and NGOs to participate in project implementation as these organisations are often better connected at the ground level and, when empowered, better able to address issues of biodiversity and livelihood enhancement.
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IUCN’s priorities in relation to GEF focal areas


Trends in species vulnerability and extinction, mitigation of threats to significant biodiversity (global, regional and local); prevention of illegal wildlife trade

Sustainability and resilience of protected areas, application of standards for management effectiveness

Ecosystem management and restoration on land and sea (including coral reefs)

Management and control of Invasive Alien Species

Sustainable use of biodiversity (including implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing in relation to genetic resources)

Climate change

Conserving and enhancing carbon stocks in forests and other ecosystems

Climate-smart agriculture and other forms of low-carbon land use

International waters

Water governance in transboundary settings and economic growth corridors

Sustainable fisheries and coastal management initiatives

Strategies addressing threats to biodiversity and ecosystems in areas beyond national jurisdiction

Land degradation

Restoring and enhancing ecosystem services in forests and rangelands

Appropriate management of land resources and sustainable agro-ecosystem practices

Developing national and sub-regional desertification action programmes and setting targets for Land Degradation Neutrality

Monitoring and assessment of land degradation, restoration and sustainable land management

Strengthening governance for sustainable and equitable management of land-based resources

Chemicals and waste

Information sharing and partnership building to identify,

raise awareness of, and prevent pollution from industrial chemicals

Climate change adaptation

(Least Developed Countries Fund & Special Climate Change Fund)

Ecosystem resilience through adaptive management

Adaptive capacity and resilience of livelihoods through sustainable use of natural resources

Sustainable Forest Management

Maintenance of forest ecosystem services to improve the resilience of forests to climate change

Restoration of forest ecosystems in degraded landscapes