Health, food, and water security

Number of projects



Total GCF financing






Climate change is expected to have major effects on health and well-being, as well as food and water systems, in developing countries. A changing climate will affect all aspects of food security, mainly as a result of disruptions to agriculture and food production systems. Food and water disruptions as a result of climate change may in turn result in health impacts: these three result areas are therefore quite interconnected. Climate change further exacerbates the risks of hunger and malnutrition through extreme weather events including sea level rise and accelerated glacial melt which have the potential to destroy crops and critical infrastructure. Climate change will likewise result in further scarcity in water. Renewable surface water and groundwater resources are expected to be significantly reduced in some regions, as will freshwater withdrawals for agricultural, industrial and domestic use. Timings and quantities of precipitation are expected to be far less predictable, affecting agricultural production. Finally, the health of water systems is linked to the health of ecosystems, including oceanic systems and terrestrial systems such as rivers.

All three of these result areas are very closely linked to development efforts, and it may often be challenging to distinguish climate-related components from wider efforts to strengthen food, water and agriculture systems in developing countries. Adaptation funds, among these three result areas, have prioritised water activities, while food and health have received less attention. It is clear that GCF can potentially take multiple entry points into supporting better outcomes. These include support for environmentally and socially sustainable climate-smart agriculture, which can reduce food security risks as well as pressures on water supply. Efforts to improve the resilience of cities can also deliver integrated outcomes in this result area, by improving water sanitation and management systems and infrastructure within urban areas.


The following GCF projects help increase the resilience of health and well-being of communities, as well as improve food and water security through integrated strategic interventions.


Sectoral guide: Agriculture and food security

10 Sep 2021

This guide seeks to provide an overview of country needs and evidence-based programming experiences in the agriculture and food security (agriculture) sector. It aims to guide proposal development in the sector for the GCF in line with its investment criteria during its first replenishment period 2020-2023.

SAP Technical Guidelines: Water Security

29 Oct 2020

This publication provides technical guidance for the preparation of simplified approval process (SAP) proposals for water security projects. GCF defines the water sector as encompassing surface freshwater resources and groundwater, but not oceans. Since the water sector is interlinked with several other sectors, such as agriculture and ecosystems, it is necessary to delineate its scope. Thus, the emphasis in this technical guidance a is on four sub-sectors: