Support sustainable development in the agricultural sector

IIASA, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Environmental System Research Institute (ESRI) are proud to announce the launch of version 4 of the Global Agro-Ecological Zones platform (GAEZ v4) – a research tool that supports sustainable development in the agricultural sector – on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development places a strong emphasis on the integrated approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which can harness synergies and minimize potential trade-offs, with land and water playing a role. important in accelerating the achievement of many SDGs. As the world population is expected to reach 9.8 billion people by 2050, more efforts and innovations are needed to sustainably increase agricultural production, improve the global supply chain, efficiently use irrigation water resources , adapt to climate change, reduce food loss and waste, and ensure that all who suffer from hunger and malnutrition have access to nutritious food.

The methodological approach of Agro-ecological Zones (ZAE) assesses land and water resources relevant for agricultural production. It has been collaboratively developed by IIASA and FAO over several decades and the principles and results of the AEZ framework directly contribute to a number of SDGs. Rapid developments in information technology have produced increasingly detailed and multiple global databases, which made possible the first global assessment of the EAZ in 2000. Since then, assessments of the global EAZ have been carried out. performed every few years.

“The agricultural sector plays a central role in the land-water-energy nexus, amplified by climate change and the loss of biodiversity. Agro-ecological zoning provides a variety of global data needed for research and planning for sustainable land and water use, agricultural production, and adaptation to climate change ”, explains Sylvia Tramberend, co-author of the updated GAEZ platform and researcher with the IIASA Water Security Research Group of the Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program.

This new version of Global Agro-Ecological Zones (GAEZ v4) provides the agronomic backbone for various applications, including the quantification of land productivity, as well as a variety of information on agricultural and rural investments. GAEZ v4 represents approximately 600,000 global layers at 9 km2 on land and water resources, agro-climatic resources and crop-specific variables, including agro-climatic potential yield, suitability and achievable yield, actual yields and production, and differences in yield and production.

“Agro-ecological zoning provides an excellent framework for promoting innovation, sustainable development and ecosystem productivity in the agricultural sector at local and global levels,” says Douglas Muchoney, FAO Senior Environmental Officer and Head of FAO’s geospatial unit.

GAEZ v4 will be launched at an online event on June 17, where the functionality of the platform will be demonstrated in the context of sustainability. GAEZ v4 model documentation, user manual and AEZ case studies will also be presented.

The launch of GAEZ v4 is part of the process of developing an open GAEZ v5 platform, in collaboration with various national, regional and international partners, strengthening interoperability between platforms related to agriculture, through the through FAO’s Hand-in-Hand initiative, and international and national efforts to mainstream sustainable agriculture into development agendas.


More information :

GAEZ v4 data portal: https: // /


Researcher contact

Günther Fischer

Emeritus researcher

Water Security Research Group

Biodiversity and natural resources program

Phone. : +43 2236 807 292

[email protected]

Sylvia Tramberend


Water Security Research Group

Biodiversity and natural resources program

Phone. : +43 2236 807 401

[email protected]

Press officer

Ansa Heyl

IIASA Press Office

Phone. : +43 2236 807 574

Mobile: +43 676 83 807 574

[email protected]

About IIASA:

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an international scientific institute that conducts research on critical issues of the global environmental, economic, technological and social changes we face in the 21st century. Our findings provide valuable options for policymakers to shape the future of our changing world. IIASA is independent and funded by prestigious research funding agencies in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. http: //

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