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  Cross-Cutting Issues

The GEF deals with a number of cross-cutting issues that provide a bridge or link between focal and thematic areas. Experience on the ground shows that sustainable development can be achieved through an integrated approach.

Capacity Building

Capacity building is a strategic priority of the GEF that cuts across all focal areas. The GEF helps to build technical, human, and institutional capacity at the local and national levels as a foundation to effective conservation and sustainable use.Capacity building is an integral part of most GEF projects.

Targeted capacity building across focal areas (cross-cutting) is seen as a cost-effective means of addressing, at a systemic or institutional level, capacity building needs that are not unique to any one focal area. It helps countries manage global environmental issues in a more general way. Examples include

  • institutional strengthening
  • assistance for enacting legislation, regulations, and other administrative measures
  • capacity building for public awareness and education
  • development of training material


Adaptation to climate change is one of the most crucial cross-cutting issues that the GEF is tackling. GEF’s work on adaptation provides an immediate opportunity to explore synergies and integration among focal areas. By promoting these synergies, adaptation to climate change will also increase the long-term sustainability of GEF projects in all focal areas. For example, GEF's efforts to promote conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are strengthened if the risks of climate change are integrated into sustainable ecosystem management practices. Pilot projects in Africa and Asia are integrating measures aimed at reducing vulnerability to climate change in sustainable land management projects.

At the policy level, even though the most significant guidance on adaptation to climate change comes from the Climate Convention, other multilateral environmental agreements have adopted principles that are relevant to adaptation. In the meantime, the Climate Convention, Convention on Biological Diversity, and Convention to Combat Desertification are promoting synergies among the conventions. The Convention on Biological Diversity has recently invited the GEF to take into account the vulnerability of specific ecosystems, such as coral reefs, to address biodiversity loss. The Convention to Combat Desertification makes extensive mention of the links between climate change and land degradation and desertification.

 >> read more from the GEF website at http://www.GEFweb.org on CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES


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