Land degradation focal area of the GEF SGP is informed by the previous activities of the millennium ecosystems assessments and specifically targets directly the realization of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Indirectly, this focal area also helps in the realization of the Non legal binding instrument of the convention on all forests types of the United Nations forum on forests (UNFF). Desertification and deforestation remains the main priority of the GEF SGP in this focal area and it aims at improving agro-ecosystems and forest landscapes where deterioration of ecosystems services and goods undermines the livelihoods of many people. A majority of these people are the very poor. This problem manifests itself prominently in the dryland ecosystems where climate change impacts further exacerbates the predicaments of the rural poor.
The key strategic priorities of the focal area are three of which the GEF SGP aims at supporting the realization of the two. These are: i) maintaining and improving services coming out of ecosystems that help in sustaining local communities livelihoods, and ii) support in the reduction of pressures on natural resources that are contributed by natural or manmade actors in the areas where degradation impacts their daily needs. The third strategic priority, which by default is also addressed, although much more specifically in the drylands zones, includes sustaining the livelihoods of forest dependent peoples who eke their living from goods and services provided by the forests themselves and other animals therein.