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.