GEF-Land Degradation Monitoring Project

Project Description

The GEF-Land Degradation Monitoring Project is a Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded project that provides guidance on robust methods and a toolbox for assessing, monitoring status, and estimating trends in land degradation using remote sensing technology. The project’s guidance and toolbox can be employed to inform land management and investment decisions as well as to improve reporting to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and to the GEF. The project is piloting products and tools in four countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Senegal) through a partnership between Lund University in Sweden, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States, and Vital Signs. It will create an open data platform with tools and data products that will be available as a global public good.


The GEF-Land Degradation Monitoring Project has three major components:

1) Establishing methods for assessing and monitoring the status and trends of land degradation;

2) Demonstrating recommended methods and platforms that will enable widespread adoption of standardized methods and tools;

3) Developing gender appropriate capacity to use the toolbox and recommended approaches for assessing the status and trends of land degradation using remote sensing.


The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the GEF commissioned a review of the use of NDVI to monitor land degradation, which subsequently inspired this project. Numerous international processes, including the UNCCD, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), have highlighted land degradation as a key development challenge. A lack of reliable information and cost effective methods for collecting and analyzing data hampers the development of policy to address this challenge. Several barriers contribute to this, including a dearth of standardized and harmonized datasets, methods, and tools for assessing land degradation; an absence of systematic and documented testing for assessing baselines at national scale in different agro-ecosystems; and capacity constraints due, in part, to the limited access to relevant satellite imagery. The STAP approached Vital Signs, NASA, and the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a proposal that would address these barriers, ultimately resulting in the GEF-Land Degradation Monitoring Project.


Project Duration
January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2017

GEF Executing Agency
Vital Signs

GEF Project Agency
Conservation International


Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is responsible for providing input to the project work plan, reviewing and approving annual work plans and budgets, and reviewing and approving all key project outputs. It plays an oversight role for the project, with semi-annual meetings to receive updates on project implementation progress. It also provides continuous ad-hoc oversight and feedback on project activities. 



Dr. Sandy Andelman
Vital Signs

Dr. Annette Cowie

Dr. Michael Cherlet
European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC)

Mr. Stephen Muwaya
Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, Uganda

Dr. Lennart Olsson
Lund University

Dr. Compton Tucker


Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

March 31, 2016 Steering Committee Call Minutes
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June 27, 2016 Steering Committee Call Minutes
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September 19, 2016 Steering Committee Call Minutes
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December 19, 2016 Steering Committee Call Minutes
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Project Team Members


Vital Signs

Dr. Sandy Andelman
Executive Director

Dr. Mariano Gonzalez-Roglich
Director of Ecosystem Analysis

Ms. Monica Noon
GIS Manager

Mr. Tristan Schnader
Sr. Project Manager

Ms. Carly Silverman
Finance Manager

Dr. Alex Zvoleff
Director of Data Science



Dr. Compton Tucker
Physical Scientist

Mr. John Lee David
Sr. Programmer/Analyst

Ms. Katherine Melocik
Staff Research Scientist

Dr. Jorge Pinzon
Lead Research Scientist


Lund University

Dr. Lennart Olsson
Director of the Centre for Sustainable Studies

Dr. Anna Tengberg
Adjunct Professor

Dr. Genesis T. Yengoh


Inception Workshop

On March 16-17, 2016, pilot country stakeholders, members of the Project Team, and a representative from the CI GEF Project Agency met in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss expectations for the project, stakeholder needs, and engagement. The meeting received positive feedback and clarified the details of the roles, support services, and complementary responsibilities of the CI-GEF Project Agency and the Executing Agency.

Please click here to view the Inception Workshop Report.



Throughout the implementation of this project, the CI-GEF Project Agency requires annual workplans and budgets. Reporting requirements include fiscal year annual work plans and budgets, quarterly reports, yearly reports on implementation and audited financials, and a terminal project evaluation conducted by an external consultant. 


Project Documents

Project Proposal
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Gender Mainstreaming Plan
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FY16 Workplan
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FY16Q3 Quarterly Report 
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FY16Q4 Quarterly Report
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FY17 Workplan
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FY17Q1 Quarterly Report
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CRIC15 Presentation Report Summary
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Any stakeholder with grievances can file a grievance claim through the Executing Agency at All claims will be filed and will be included in project monitoring and reporting. Claimants will receive a formal response in writing within 15 days.

If, for any reason, the claimant is not satisfied with the response, the grievance can be escalated directly to the CI-GEF Project Agency. CI's Accountability and Grievance Mechanism is linked to CI's Ethics Hotline, which is managed by Navex's Ethicspoint, a Safe Harbor Certified through the United States Department of Commerce. Any grievance will be handled by the CI Director of Compliance (DOC), who can be reached at Please click here to learn more about the CI-GEF Project Agency's accountability and grievance mechanisms.