Projects funded by the $18 million Global Environment Facility (GEF) and managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are anticipated to benefit four nations.

The three new projects funded by the fund will enhance protected area management, safeguard lowland forest biodiversity, and increase water security and resilience in Nigeria, Venezuela, Malawi, Mozambique, and Uganda.

“Resilient and productive land and aquatic ecosystems are the foundation of sustainable agri-food systems transformation,” said FAO Deputy Director-General, Maria Helena Semedo.

“The approval of these three projects strengthens our ability to help countries move on a path of sustainability that leaves no one behind,” Semedo added.

The project in Nigeria would improve the conservation, sustainable use, and restoration of a lowland forest landscape to protect globally significant biodiversity and strengthen the sustainable livelihoods of local communities.

The project would also improve the management of the threatened one million hectare landscape encompassing 12 forest reserves and the Okomu National Park. One of the aims is to replicate successes across the full Nigerian lowland forests eco-region.

The three projects that were approved on Tuesday at the 62nd Council Meeting of the GEF, held in McLean, Virginia, United States of America, would improve management for conservation and the sustainable use of over 8.3 million hectares of protected areas, bring 10 000 hectares of land under improved management, and restore another 24 000 hectares of forest and natural grasslands.

They would also mitigate 4.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and directly support nearly 92 000 people, including indigenous peoples and local communities.

The approval of these three projects marked the end of the GEF’s 2018-2022 funding cycle, the most productive four-year period in the FAO-GEF partnership to date, with over $600 million in grant financing secured for member countries.