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Community / Land projects / The Systems Change Lab (SCL): Accelerating Transformational Change Needed to Safeguard the Global Commons for

The Systems Change Lab (SCL): Accelerating Transformational Change Needed to Safeguard the Global Commons for


07/22 - 12/24


This project is part of


To help enable decision-makers1 to accelerate the systemwide transformations2 needed to safeguard the global commons for all. 1Decision-makers include policymakers across all sectors and at all levels of decision-making; funders and investors channelling climate and nature-related finance through bilateral aid agencies, multilateral institutions, private philanthropies, and impact investing firms; leaders across the private sector; and those at the helm of international non-governmental organizations, civil society movements, and United Nations agencies. 2 Limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C and halting biodiversity loss will require transformations across socio-technical systems (power, industry, transport, the built environment, and sustainable production and consumption) and social-ecological systems (food, terrestrial ecosystem management, freshwater ecosystem management, and marine ecosystem management). Broader transformations across political, economic, and social systems will also be required, such as how we will finance the transition to a net-zero GHG emissions and nature-positive future, measure economic well-being, distribute the costs and benefits of these transformations, improve social equity and inclusion, and govern the global commons.


Note: Disbursement data provided is cumulative and covers disbursement made by the project Agency.

Target Groups

Due to the global and interdisciplinary nature of this project, it is hard to pinpoint quantifiable or localized socioeconomic benefits—however, the project should bring about socioeconomic co-benefits globally and locally through facilitating systems change via the project outcomes. More specifically, the success of the SCL’s work could help deliver the GEF’s global environmental benefits and adaptation benefits. Rapid, far-reaching transitions across systems can lead to a more prosperous, sustainable, and nature-positive society for all. As an example, transforming how we manage land and forests entails restoring degraded and deforestedlandscapes. Such a transformation would lead to a positive impact not only on biodiversity, associated ecosystems services, and ecological resilience, but also contribute to GEF’s global environmental benefits in climate change (through sequestering and storing carbon), land degradation (through restoration of native ecosystems), and adaptation (through agroforestry systems that diversify farmers’ livelihoods). Similarly, transforming our food systems involves shifting to sustainable agricultural production, halving food loss and waste, shifting to more plant-based diets, and reducing GHG emissions from agriculture. These shifts could enhance food security (through increasing crop, livestock, and pasture productivity on existing lands) and improve livelihoods (through the introduction of more resilient, low-emissions production methods and technologies), helping hundreds of millions of small-scale agricultural producers to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The SCL also includes a cross-cutting focus on ‘Inclusion, Equity and the Just Transition’ that will underpin the sectoral transformations it seeks to advance (see Annex N for further information). This will include shifts that ensure that the costs and benefits of systems change are equitably distributed, that those historically marginalized from decision-making processes have a seat at the table across all levels of policymaking (i.e., global, national, and local), and that efforts to safeguard the global commons are combined with those to ensure universal access to basic services and opportunities. It also encompasses efforts to ensure just transitions at all levels and for both those disproportionately affected by climate impacts and biodiversity loss, as well as those working in industries that may need to be phased out (e.g., fossil fuel companies). If the Lab is successful in supporting decision-makers to act on these issues, (and potentially strengthening coalitions or helping create a new coalition for transformations not currently addressed), then this should also contribute to substantial socioeconomic benefits in the near future at both local and national levels.