GEF Focal Areas

GEF SGP Ukraine supports grant projects covering the GEF focal areas:

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

GEF SGP helps countries to mitigate the negative effects of the Climate Change and to contribute to the overall objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). GEF SGP supports community and non-governmental organizations in providing access to clean energy, sustainable transport, improving energy efficiency and land use practices. In addition to this, GEF SGP helps develop capacity of local communities and improve their livelihoods through adaptation to severe climate events and variability.

The Community Based Adaptation (CBA) is an important component of the larger picture of management and avoidance of Climate Change impacts and pressures by local people. It provides information and concrete examples on potential impacts of climate change and mitigative measures that are location specific and community managed. CBA also provides information needs that can be shared and replicated in an appropriate format and manner acceptable by communities. The need for information on adaptation by incorporating and building upon existing coping strategies of communities can be articulated and demonstrated through CBA projects.

Ukraine is one of the world’s most energy intensive countries due to inefficient practices in key economic sectors, such as energy and heavy industry. It also reflects the losses in the heating sector, in which, 25 – 40% losses in transmission and distribution are common.

Ukraine signed the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992. The Parliament of Ukraine ratified this Convention on October 29, 1996, and has been a party to it since August 11, 1997, subject to the UN procedures. On March 15, 1999 Ukraine signed the Kyoto Protocol, which committed Ukraine, as an Annex I party, to stabilize its greenhouse gas emissions for the period of 2008-2012 at the 1990 level. The Kyoto Protocol was ratified by the Parliament of Ukraine on February 04, 2004.

GEF OP6 TECHNICAL GUIDANCE NOTE: Climate change - low carbon energy access co-benefits strategic initiative

GEF OP7 TECHNICAL GUIDANCE NOTE: Sustainable urban solutions


2011-2020 has been declared by the UN General Assembly as the “International Decade for Biodiversity”. Biodiversity provides us with food, fuel, medicine, shelter and a cultural and spiritual connection to nature. The overall goal of the GEF for biodiversity is the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the maintenance of ecosystem goods and services. 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. All SGP biodiversity projects are expected to be located in geographic areas that contain globally significant biodiversity, and/or have focused on reducing threats to biodiversity identified within the SGP Country Programme Strategy.

Ukraine has a rich biota, which comprises more than 25,000 species of plants and fungi and 45,000 species of animals, some of which are endemic. However, the nature was considerably modified by anthropogenic factors within the past decades. The agriculture made serious impact on the country’s nature. The landscape is threatened by the fragmentation of habitats, agricultural pressure, development of infrastructure, and the conflicting interests of environmental preservation on the one hand, and of agricultural and forestry activities on the other.

In an effort to create the appropriate legislative foundation for biodiversity protection, the Law of Ukraine On the Plant Kingdom  was approved by the resolution of the Parliament in 1999 and On the Animal Kingdom was adopted in 1993 (later edition in 2001). The provisions of the laws govern social and economic relations concerning protection, utilization and restoration of wild and other non-agricultural plants, water-plants, lichens, fungi and their new habitats. The Laws on Hunting and the Red Data Book, adopted by the Parliament in 2000 and 2002 respectively provide additional instruments for the preservation of biodiversity in Ukraine.

Ukraine ratified the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1994. Under the framework of the Convention, the Ukrainian government has been working to provide protection, environmentally sustainable use and restoration of biological and landscape diversity.

GEF OP6 TECHNICAL GUIDANCE NOTE: The Landscape/Seascape Approach in OP6

GEF OP7 TECHNICAL GUIDANCE NOTE: Threatened Species and Ecosystems - International Waters

Land degradation

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 is 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. This problem manifests itself prominently in the dryland ecosystems where climate change impacts further exacerbates the predicaments of the rural poor.

The types of projects that GEF SGP typically supports within the strategic priority on improving and maintaining ecosystem functions aims at capacity development of the local communities to improve their rational use and to make better decisions on the management of such landscapes so that ultimately, the community's livelihoods can be improved. Further, the programme aims at implementing integrated approaches to enhance soil fertility, management of water resources, crops and livestock within a farm household. In rangeland ecosystems, the projects that are targeted will aim at regulating livestock pressure on rangeland resources and encouraging rotational grazing systems. Conversely, for the sustainable priority on reduction of pressures from landscapes, the projects encouraged will include improvement of agricultural activities near protected areas systems, management of watershed lands, working with communities to avoid deforestation and degradation of forestlands while generally building capacity of communities to maintain continual provision of services and goods from their local environment.

Ukraine’s soil is widely recognized as a major national asset thanks to its tremendous fertility and outstanding agricultural qualities. However, the Ukraine is one of the countries that exemplify the seriousness of land degradation in the region. With no recultivation and gradual deterioration of soil and water conservation systems after a long span of unsustainable practices, agricultural land faces a crisis with intensified erosion, nutrient depletion and loss of protective forest coverage. The annual rate of soil dehumification in Ukraine runs as high as 0.6 to 1.0 thousand hectares, and the eroded land area measures now 40% of the total territory. Serious concern arises from the fact that in some regions soil does not receive enough important microelements such as molybdenum, manganese, and iodine. The total environmental and economic damage is estimated at about 4 billion USD.

GEF OP6 TECHNICAL GUIDANCE NOTE: Innovative agro-ecology practices

International Waters

The GEF International Waters focal area addresses sustainable development challenges faced by countries sharing transboundary surface, groundwater, and marine systems. 70 percent of the World is covered by Ocean, and 60 percent of the land lies in transboundary surface and groundwater basins. Most water systems are connected and transboundary, hence are under the coverage of GEF IW mandate. These water systems know no national boundaries and generate ecosystem services and products for human beings, generally serving as transbdounary lifelines. These waterbodies have suffered a trend of environmental degradation, in terms of water quality, ecosystem sustainability and environmental services and goods. The world is calling for effective actions to reverse this trend.

SGP promotes sustainable international waters management through regionally connected community-based activities. The focus is put on activities on freshwater surface waterbodies such as rivers and lakes, as well as regional seas and coastal areas. 

In Ukraine the water resources are unevenly distributed in the country, e.g. in the north and north-west they are sufficient while the south suffers the water shortages and depends on water transfers. The Dnieper River remains the main source of water supply.   The water quality of the Dnieper River is a major concern because it is the main water body making up 80 per cent of the country’s total water resources and providing water for 32 million Ukrainians.

The water quality remains a serious problem in the country, containing nitrates and pesticides. In many areas the surface and ground water are also contaminated by bacteria. The average water consumption level remains high compared to Western Europe and smaller cities and rural areas suffer from irregular water supply. Moreover, the access to clean water is a priority issue in the Millennium Development Goals for Ukraine.

GEF OP6 TECHNICAL GUIDANCE NOTE: The Landscape/Seascape Approach in OP6

GEF OP7 TECHNICAL GUIDANCE NOTE: Threatened Species and Ecosystems - International Waters


The goal of the GEF's chemicals focal area is to promote the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the global environment.

Waste is a problem all around the world, and Ukraine is not an exception. The Industrial waste dominates Ukraine’s total waste generation and has increased over the last decade. The main sources of industrial waste are the mining, chemical and petrochemical, metallurgical, machine-building, wood, pulp and paper industries. The landfills and industrial waste storage sites should be specially equipped to prevent pollution, but often waste disposal does not comply with the norms and represents a real danger to the environment, especially in the form of soil contamination and groundwater by the heavy metals. The national infrastructure for waste management and disposal is inadequate, and many regions in the country have difficulties with processing and disposing the hazardous waste.


GEF OP7 TECHNICAL GUIDANCE NOTE: Chemicals, waste and mercury management

SGP GEF7 Programming Directions: Chemicals, waste and mercury