Financial Mechanism and Resources

T4 (Threatened Species and Genetic Diversity): How to Use GEF Funding

1. This page aims to provide information regarding management actions to halt human induced extinction of known threatened species and for the recovery and conservation of species, in particular threatened species, to significantly reduce extinction risk, as well as to maintain and restore the genetic diversity within and between populations of native, wild and domesticated species to maintain their adaptive potential, for recipient Parties and relevant stakeholders, including how to access funding of the Global Environment Facility in this regard. It is a work in progress and will be updated as necessary.

2. Species continue to move, on average, closer to extinction. However, the number of extinctions of birds and mammals would likely have been at least two to four times higher without conservation actions over the past decade. Among well-assessed taxonomic groups, nearly one quarter (23.7%) of species are threatened with extinction unless the drivers of biodiversity loss are drastically reduced, with an estimated total of one million threatened species across all groups. Vertebrate species populations have fallen, on average, by more than two-thirds since 1970, and by nearly one-third since 2010. Reported actions included: Documenting and monitoring the status of threatened species, and expanding monitoring systems; Development and implementation of species-specific recovery programmes, typically in relation to keystone or culturally-important species; Efforts related to ecosystem restoration, community-based conservation, and breeding programmes; Involvement with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

3. Genetic diversity of cultivated plants, farmed and domesticated animals, and wild relatives, continues to be eroded. The wild relatives of important food crops are poorly represented in ex situ seed banks that help guarantee their conservation, important for future food security. The proportion of livestock breeds that are at risk or extinct is increasing, although at a slower rate than in earlier years, suggesting some progress in preventing the decline of traditional breeds. Wild relatives of farmed birds and mammals are moving closer to extinction. Reported actions included: Creation and further development of gene banks, botanic gardens, germplasm plots, breeding facilities and research universities; Actions to preserve animal breeds through breeding facilities; Protection associated with national heritage recognition; Incentivizing farmers to maintain local breeds; Action to conserve valuable crop species, including those used in medicines; Action to reintroduce neglected crops; Training to farmers on issues associated with commercialization, development, and food security.

Guidance from the Conference of the Parties

4. The Conference of the Parties invited the Global Environment Facility to support the following: Projects that promote the conservation and/or sustainable use of endemic species; Implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation 2011-2020; National and regional taxonomic capacity-building activities for the Global Taxonomy Initiative, and project components that address taxonomic needs in the achievement of the Convention’s objectives; (Decision X/25, paragraph 9; decision XI/5, para. 16; and also decision X/17, paragraph 5; decision XII/15, preamble; XIII/21, annex II, para. 16 (Diversity of species and genetic resources))

5. Planning

  • Develop or update species conservation national and regional targets as appropriate, and incorporate them, and consideration of pollinators, into relevant plans, programmes and initiatives, including national biodiversity strategies and action plans; (XII/15, para. 1; XI/26, para. 4; X/17, para. 6(a), 8; VI/9, para. 4; XI/26, para. 13; IX/3, para. 1(b); XIII/15, para. 7(p); VI/5, annex II, para. 4.1 and 4.4)
  • Elaborate management plans at time scales appropriate to the life history of species or populations; (VII/12, para. 6(e))
  • Support regional, subregional, national and local efforts to conserve the genetic diversity of crops and livestock on farms and of useful wild species in their natural habitats, as well as forest genetic resources; (VIII/1, annex, priority action 3.1.1; VI/22, annex, programme element 1, goal 4, objective 4(g))
  • Revise policy and legal frameworks to support and enable conservation and sustainable use of wildlife species, including wild meat species management; (14/7, annex, para. 45(a)(iii) and 28(a))

6. Conservation

  • Establish new and/or expand existing protected areas, or take other effective area‑based conservation measures, to give due consideration to areas that protect the habitats of species, in particular threatened, endemic and migratory species, including through such mechanisms as important bird and marine mammal areas, drawing on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, threatened, endemic, and ecologically or culturally important island species, and other species with an unfavorable conservation status (e.g., seabirds, marine turtles and dugong); (III/21, para. 8; VI/22, annex, programme element 1, goal 4, objective 4(b); VII/27, annex, action 1.2.3; VII/28, annex, goal 1.1; VII/4, annex, goal 1.3, activity 1.3.3; VIII/1, annex, priority action and; XIII/2, para. 5(b)(iv); X/31A, para. 1(h); XIII/3, para. 17(a); Convention on Migratory Species (CBD/SBI/3/6/Add.3, 16 February 2021); VII/4, annex, goal 1.2, activity 1.2.3)
  • Establish new and/or expand existing protected areas, or take other effective area‑based conservation measures, to give due consideration to areas that are identified as centres of origin or centres of genetic diversity; (XIII/2, para. 5(b))
  • Establish corridors and take appropriate measures to maintain ecological functions of natural corridors, where appropriate, to enable vertical migration of species, ensuring minimal viable population sizes to enable genetic adaptation to changing environmental conditions, and support species migration systems; (VIII/1, annex, priority action 1.2.1; VII/27, annex, action 1.2.1; Convention on Migratory Species (CBD/SBI/3/6/Add.3, 16 February 2021); X/30, para. 3)
  • Integrate in situ and ex situ strategies for conservation of genetic diversity; (VIII/1, annex, priority action 3.1.1)
  • Promote the gathering of the maximum genetic diversity in the samples to be stored in ex-situ collections at population and species levels; (VIII/1, annex, priority action 2.1.1)
  • Develop closer collaboration for the conservation and sustainable use of transboundary forest ecosystems and populations of species, such as effective regional networks of protected areas for migratory species; (VI/22, para. 33; VII/28, annex, goal 1.3; IV/4, annex I, para. 9(k))

7. Recovery and Restoration

  • Develop and implement recovery plans for selected single, multiple or region-wide island endangered species in collaboration with indigenous and local communities, giving particular priority to species most at risk of extinction, those that are endemic, and species that will provide the broadest range of benefits, and reef species with key ecological functions, in particular herbivorous reef fish populations; (VIII/1, annex, priority action and; XII/23, annex, para. 8.1(f); XIII/3, para. 71)
  • Develop and implement habitat protection, management, and if necessary, species reintroduction strategies giving priority to in situ activities; (VIII/1, annex, priority action
  • Re-establish animal species in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems from which they have been lost or significantly reduced, depleted species into marine ecosystems (e.g. artificial reefs, coral transplanting and species restocking) and populations that have sustained extensive declines; (VIII/1, annex, priority action
  • Restore and maintain ecological connectivity, especially for the conservation and sustainable management of migratory species and their habitats, which has been defined as the “unimpeded movement of species and the flow of natural processes that sustain life on Earth”; (VIII/1, annex, priority action; VII/27, annex, action 1.2.10; Convention on Migratory Species (CBD/SBI/3/6/Add.3, 16 February 2021); VII/28, annex, goal 1.2)
  • Implement inter-island translocation of threatened species, especially within archipelagos, in cases where this will improve chances for survival, and conduct risk assessment about hybridization and out-breeding processes before implementation; (VIII/1, annex, priority action
  • Give due attention to both native species and genetic diversity in ecosystem conservation and restoration activities, while avoiding the introduction and preventing the spread of invasive alien species; (XII/19, para. 4(h); IX/5, para. 2(g))
  • Consider ex situ measures, such as relocation, assisted migration and captive breeding, gene banks in the country and/or region of origin, that could contribute to maintaining the adaptive capacity and securing the survival of species at risk, and promote the gathering of the maximum genetic diversity in the samples to be stored in ex-situ collections at population and species levels; (IV/4, annex I, para. 9(f)(iv), 9(b); X/33, para. 8(e); VIII/1, annex, priority action,

8. Targeted Measures

  • Conserve and sustainably use crop and livestock genetic diversity, including wild relatives of domesticated animals and plants; (VIII/23A, annex, para. 3.1)
  • Promote genetic diversity within populations of managed pollinators; (XIII/15, para. 7(e)-7(i))
  • Maintain genetic diversity of resources for food and agriculture and their landraces/farmers’ varieties and wild relatives as a key pathway to achieving sustainable productivity and nutritional gains, in particular in centres of genetic diversity; (XIII/3, para. 35)
  • Enhance actions to avoid further reduction in genetic variation among breeds of farmed and domesticated animals, and promote in situ conservation in centres of origin and genetic diversity; (14/1, para 14(j))
  • Enhance the floral diversity available to pollinators using mainly native species and reduce the dependence of managed pollinators on nectar-replacements, thereby improving pollinator nutrition and immunity to pests and diseases; (XIII/15, para. 7(e)-7(i); VI/5, para. 22)
  • Identify and promote species currently underutilized or of potential value to human food and nutrition, including those important in times of crisis, and their conservation and sustainable use; (VIII/23A, annex, para. 3.2)
  • Promote genetically diverse and species-rich home gardens, agroforestry and other production systems that contribute to the in-situ conservation of genetic resources and food security; (VIII/23A, annex, para. 3.3)
  • Conserve and sustainably use wild resources, including those that support bushmeat and fisheries, including maintaining viable stocks of wild species for sustainable consumption by local and indigenous communities; (VIII/23A, annex, para. 3.4)
  • Conserve and sustainably use medicinal species relevant for food and nutrition; (VIII/23A, annex, para. 3.6)
  • Use, whenever possible, indigenous species, native species and subspecies for aquaculture, or when applying biological control agents, or community-based reforestation projects, or in ecosystem conservation and restoration activities, while avoiding the introduction and preventing the spread of invasive alien species; (VII/4, annex, goal 2.2, activity 2.2.2; VII/5, para. 45(g); XIII/13, para. 15; VIII/27, para. 24; XII/19, para. 4(h); VIII/1, annex, priority action
  • Adopt measures to ensure sustainable management of coastal and marine biodiversity, with due regard to the conservation of threatened, endemic, ecologically and/or culturally important island species, to prevent, inter alia, over-exploitation and destructive practices, including promoting the use of gears and techniques that minimize by-catch of non-target species, and to minimize bycatch of CMS-listed marine species and reduce post-release mortality; (Convention on Migratory Species (CBD/SBI/3/6/Add.3, 16 February 2021); VIII/1, annex, priority action 4.2.1)
  • Implement concerted actions for the conservation of iconic species which addresses direct and indirect threats through collaboration both at institutional and scientific levels; (Convention on Migratory Species (CBD/SBI/3/6/Add.3, 16 February 2021))
  • Develop and strengthen participatory processes in formulating and implementing the sustainable management and harvesting of wildlife, including wild meat species, with the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders; (14/7, annex, para. 28(c))
  • Promote the conservation and/or sustainable use of endangered, overexploited and narrow endemic species and species of economic potential, with a focus on narrowly-distributed taxa, and and establish mechanisms that respect the use of endemic species and locally generated races and cultivars; (X/25, para. 9; XI/5, para. 16; X/17, para. 5; XII/15, preamble; XIII/21, annex II, para. 16(a); VII/27, annex, action 1.2.2; V/23, annex I, para. 5; VI/22, annex, programme element 1, goal 4, objective 4(h); VIII/1, annex, goal 10, activity

9. Monitoring and Knowledge

  • Assess the conservation status of all taxonomic groups and habitats, in particular threatened and endemic species, develop and update global and national lists of threatened species, including pollinators and all endangered species that are stored in ex situ collections, produce multilingual manuals on their conservation and restoration, and develop and apply active species conservation methods that integrate both ex situ and in situ conservation; (VI/5, annex II, para. 2.3(c); VIII/1, annex, priority action, and; XI/29, annex, action 5; XIII/2, para. 9(c), 5(e))
  • Compile and/or update maps, including the distribution and abundance of species in the sea, and undertake censuses of all native threatened endemic, and/or culturally important species working closely with traditional, indigenous and local experts and communities; (VIII/1, annex, priority action and; X/29, para. 10)
  • Conduct impact assessments and monitoring for activities that may have significant adverse impacts on noise-sensitive species, and mitigate and manage anthropogenic underwater noise through the use of spatio‑temporal management of activities, considering thresholds as a tool to protect sound-sensitive species, taking into account their locations during critical life cycle stages as well as relevant results of research and additional information; (XII/23, para. 3(e)-(g), 3(n) and 3(i))
  • Assess genetic diversity and differentiation within and among island populations of wild flora and fauna; (VIII/1, annex, priority action 2.2.1)
  • Improve national, regional and global data on species and all taxonomic levels and on species at lower taxonomic orders including soil biodiversity; (VIII/2, para. 5; VII/4, para. 17)
  • Improve monitoring, data collection and data analysis of species population sizes and trends, migration patterns and distribution, habitats and critical sites as well as of drivers of population changes; (Convention on Migratory Species (CBD/SBI/3/6/Add.3, 16 February 2021))
  • Provide taxonomic training and prepare guides to enable researchers to identify poorly known biological groups, coral species and other associated island species; (VIII/1, annex, priority action
  • Coordinate their taxonomic research in biogeographic regions for better and more comprehensive data of species distribution at bioregional scale; (X/39, para. 5)
  • Increase the knowledge base on ecological range and the condition of the species in order to better meet the user-needs in respect of bioindication of ecological health, and conduct studies on ecological functions and services to improve understanding of effects of exploitation on non-target species; (IV/4, annex I, para. 9(e) (iii); X/39, para. 6)
  • Promote understanding of the role of human-induced fires on forest ecosystems and on species, and of the underlying causes; (VI/22, annex, programme element 1, goal 2, objective 4(b))
  • Complete information on pollinator species, populations and their taxonomy, ecology and interactions; (IX/1, para. 21(a))

10. Climate

  • Promote the integration of climate change adaptation best practices, strategies and methodologies into conservation planning frameworks, in consideration of species and ecosystems responses, and vulnerability to past and future anthropogenic climate change, and implement activities to increase the adaptive capacity of species and the resilience of ecosystems in the face of climate change; (XIII/4, para. 8(m); X/33, para. 8(d))
  • Promote further research to identify risks to pollination under climate change and potential adaption measures, including the potential loss of keystone species and their effect on ecosystem resilience; (XIII/15, para. 7(z))
  • Take specific measures for species that are vulnerable to climate change, including migratory species, and to maintain genetic diversity in the face of climate change; (X/33, para. 8(g))
  • Identify and monitor the impacts of climate change on key species, species (e.g., corals) that are resilient to climate change in order to use those species for restoration, and identify and protect sites whose environmental conditions favor the maintenance and recovery of species and ecosystems under changed climate and sea level, including networks of climate resilient sites for migratory species to facilitate the migration and dispersal of species with limited tolerance to altered climatic conditions; (VIII/1, annex, priority action,,; X/30, para. 5; Convention on Migratory Species (CBD/SBI/3/6/Add.3, 16 February 2021); X/33, para. 8(g); IX/16A, para. 4(f); VIII/30, para. 4)

11. Integration

  • Assess the benefits of pollinators and pollination, taking into account the economic value to agriculture and food production and the value to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, as well as cultural and other values; (XIII/15, para. 7(v))
  • Promote responsible consumption of certified sustainably-sourced wild meat that contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of wild species by influencing consumer choices for sustainably-sourced products; (14/7, annex, para. 38(d))
  • Promote education and public awareness of the value of key species such as pollinators and their habitats, and of the need to reduce threats to these species and habitats; (XIII/15, para. 7(o); XIII/31, para. 6(f); X/39, para. 15(e)-(g); VIII/3, para. 10(a); VIII/1, annex, priority action 11.3.3)
  • Consider, where appropriate, economic and other forms of incentives that encourage the conservation of threatened endemic, or ecologically or culturally important species by private sector, NGOs, and indigenous and local communities, giving priority to in situ activities; (VIII/1, annex, priority action; VII/13, para. 6(f))
  • Use proper mariculture methods of breeding and proper places of releasing in order to protect genetic diversity; (VII/5, para. 45(i))
  • Develop ecosystem and species vulnerability assessments for the energy sector; (X/33, para. 8(v))
  • Promote sustainable forest management practices that further the conservation of endemic and threatened species and habitats including forest canopies, prioritizing the use of native communities of species, and taking into consideration the identification of key functional/keystone species populations, model species and genetic variability at the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) level; (VIII/1, annex, priority action; VI/22, annex, programme element 1, goal 3, objective 2 and goal 4, objective 4(a) and programme element 3, goal 3, objective 1(b); X/33, para. 8(n), 8(o), 8(p))
  • Select, at a national level, the most threatened forest ecosystems based on the genetic diversity of their priority species and populations and develop an appropriate action plan in order to protect the genetic resources of the most threatened forest ecosystems, implement activities to ensure adequate and representative in situ conservation of the genetic diversity of endangered, overexploited and narrow endemic forest species, and develop and evaluate conservation strategies for forest genetic resources, both in situ and ex situ; (VI/22, annex, programme element 1, goal 4, objective 4(b), 4(h), 4(d))
  • Address issues related to conflict between humans and other species, especially with regard to coexistence with predators, and ensure that the conservation and sound management of wildlife species takes into account the socioeconomic needs of local communities, including the sustainable use of wild meat; (VII/27, annex, action 1.2.8; 14/7, annex, para. 45(a)(i))

12. Health

  • Further advance in the analysis of the interlinkages between biodiversity and human health, such as the identification of microbiological biodiversity and pathogenic species, and support activities to reduce risk of the emergence of zoonotic diseases by addressing habitat fragmentation and destruction and risks from the direct use of migratory species, which can be responsible for the transmission of infectious diseases from wild animals to humans; (XIII/6, para. 8; Convention on Migratory Species (CBD/SBI/3/6/Add.3, 16 February 2021))
  • Promote and support further research on health-biodiversity linkages and related socioeconomic considerations, including, inter alia, on linkages between migratory species and their corridors and human health; (XIII/6, para. 6)

13. Alien species

  • Avoid, minimize and mitigate land-based and sea-based pollution, deoxygenation and introduction of invasive alien species through ballast water and biofouling to prevent adverse impacts on cold-water ecosystems and species, threats of invasive alien species to migratory species, and manage the impacts of fisheries on species and the wider ecosystem; (XII/23, annex, para. 8.1(d)-(e); XIII/11, annex II, para. 5.2; VI/23, para. 10(g); X/29, para. 13(g))
  • Update relevant plans and strategies to take account of effects of alien species on populations and naturally occurring genetic diversity; (VI/23, para. 12(c))
  • Prevent or minimize the risk of introducing invasive alien species harmful to wild and managed pollinators and the plant resources on which they depend and to identify and evaluate such risk; (XIII/15, para. 7(e)-7(i); VI/5, para. 22)

14. Research and Technologies

  • Improve understanding of patterns of genetic diversity and its conservation in situ, in relation to forest management, landscape-scale forest change and climate variations, taking into consideration the identification of key functional/keystone species populations, model species and genetic variability at the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) level; (IX/5, para. 2(c); VI/22, annex, programme element 1, goal 4, objective 4(a), 4(c))
  • Document traditional knowledge, innovations and practices relevant to local species, with the full and effective participation and prior informed consent of indigenous and local communities; (VIII/1, annex, priority action and
  • Conduct long-term research on species adaptability to changing environmental conditions under climatic or human-induced global change, in relation to mountain biological diversity (VII/27, annex, goal 3.4, activity 3.4.1)
  • Research on marine species, spawning and breeding sites, including cold-water areas, including species identification, species distribution, community composition and taxonomic standardization, to predict the occurrence of species and habitats and to understand their vulnerability to different types of stressors as well as to the combined and cumulative effects of multiple stressors; the sensitivity of species, habitats and communities within coral reefs to changes in ocean carbon chemistry and whether there is a potential for adaptation to ocean acidification in reef organisms; activities and processes under their jurisdiction or control which may have significant adverse impact on deep seabed ecosystems and species beyond the limits of national jurisdiction; (XIII/11, para. 4(d) and annex II, para. 5.4(a); XII/23, annex, para. 11.3e; VII/5, para. 56; VIII/1, annex, priority action
  • Understand key species life histories with special emphasis on conservation biology tools and approaches to assist active recovery efforts, dynamics of key island populations and ecological communities and what constitutes an adequate area of key habitat to ensure viable populations, and delayed response processes of species responding to degradation, loss and fragmentation of insular habitats; (VIII/1, annex, priority action,,,
  • Research and conservation of native plants or animals, local races, wild relatives of cultivated or domesticated species in order to improve the knowledge on their genetic variability, regarding important traits for agriculture such as biotic/abiotic resistance, yield and nutritional value, and to develop sustainable agricultural systems that contribute to conserving the most vulnerable and potentially useful species; (IX/1, para. 12(c); VIII/23A, annex, para. 3.11)
  • Implement and coordinate targeted research programmes, including predictive modelling, that investigate the tolerance limits and adaptation capacity of coral-reef species to acute and chronic increases in sea-surface temperature, and develop approaches for assessing the vulnerability of coral-reef species to global warming; (V/3, annex, A(a)(1) and C)
  • Promote technology transfer to improve technical capacities for the conservation and sustainable use of important species, wild relatives, neglected and under-utilized species; (VIII/23A, annex, para. 3.10)

15. Participation and Partnership

  • Recognize and integrate traditional knowledge, customary sustainable use as well as diverse approaches undertaken by indigenous peoples and local communities in efforts to maintain genetic diversity; (XIII/3, para. 17(c))
  • Facilitate and support the development of national plant conservation partnerships with the participation of indigenous and local communities and the widest range of stakeholders, recognizing the important role of women, in order to enhance plant conservation; (XII/15, para. 5-7)
  • Ensure at national level, effective collaboration among national authorities and focal points that deal with the three Rio conventions, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the World Heritage Convention, the Convention on Migratory Species, the International Plant Protection Convention, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the World Trade Organization Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; (V/23, annex I, activity 7(l); XI/28, para. 4(i); VIII/30, para. 6; XI/6, para. 32))

Financial support of the Global Environment Facility

Wildlife Conservation for Development

Amazon, Congo, and Critical Forest Biomes

BDFA: Objective One

Potential implementation/project partners

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