Game-changing funding for biodiversity conservation announced in momentous move for a nature-positive world

©-Ola-Jennersten-WWF-Sweden.jpg
  • Major financial institutions also commit to stop harming nature

NEW YORK, United States (22 September) – Game-changing new financing commitments for nature and people – including the biggest-ever philanthropic commitment to nature conservation – will be announced today in a move campaigners see as crucial to unlock even greater investments in conservation and plug the gap in funding to reverse global nature loss and secure a nature-positive world.

The announcements will be made at the Transformative Action for Nature and People high-level event on the margins of the UN General Assembly which will bring together more than 20 presidents and prime ministers, as well as indigenous community leaders and leaders from the worlds of finance, philanthropy and civil society to commit to momentous action for nature, climate and people.

Nine organizations have joined together to pledge $5 billion over the next 10 years to support the creation, expansion, management and monitoring of protected and conserved areas of land, inland water and sea, working with Indigenous Peoples, local communities, civil society and governments. This marks the largest private funding commitment ever to biodiversity conservation.

This commitment to ensure 30 percent of the planet is protected and preserved in the most important places for biodiversity by 2030 is being made jointly by Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin; Bezos Earth Fund; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Nia Tero; Rainforest Trust ($500 million); Re:wild; Wyss Foundation ($500 million); and the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation. These private funders have launched the “Protecting Our Planet Challenge.”

World leaders including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez, and Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria, will all contribute to the event, which will be held in New York and virtually.

Commenting ahead of the event, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica, said: “Costa Rica is working towards achieving the protection of 30% of our ocean. By expanding the Coco´s Island National Park, we will ensure our ocean´s health for many years to come. But not only are we working hard to make this great step, we are also trying to ensure the necessary funds to make this more than a park in “paper”, but a true model of conservation as part of our global leadership of the now 72 country strong High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People to achieve the protection of 30% of the planet by 2030.’’

Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, said: “Norway has joined two high ambition coalitions to conserve and protect 30% of land and the ocean. But 30% is not enough. We also have to improve the state of the environment on the remaining 70%. Last year, the Ocean Panel launched an agenda to build a sustainable ocean economy, at the forefront of which is the commitment to sustainably manage 100% of our ocean areas by 2025.”

The event will also include news from Finance for Biodiversity Pledge that 75 financial institutions from around the globe – worth a collective 12 trillion euros in assets – are committing to protecting and restoring biodiversity through their finance activities and investments. Each will assess their impact on nature, set targets and disclose their progress in their annual reports before 2025, thereby making an important contribution to reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 and reducing any existing investments which are harmful to nature.

“We welcome the meaningful involvement of private sector leaders in contributing to closing the financial gap required to reverse global biodiversity loss by 2030. These announcements are part of the transformative actions needed to protect nature, along with strengthening international cooperation, improving the efficiency in the access and use of resources, eliminating harmful subsidies for biodiversity and mobilizing all relevant stakeholders, including the financial sector. I hope these announcements will inspire further ambitious financial commitments from governments around the world towards COP26 and COP15”, expressed President Iván Duque Marquez, Champion of the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature.

Saker Nusseibeh, CBE – CEO, International at Federated Hermes, a signatory of Finance for Biodiversity Pledge, said: “All life on Earth depends on well-functioning ecosystems, so it is our collective responsibility to contribute to the protection and restoration of nature. We are committed to playing our part through deepening and accelerating the focus on biodiversity in our stewardship and investment activities.”

Last week, Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, announced that the European Union will double its external funding for biodiversity, in particular for the most vulnerable countries, showing leadership which must now be matched by countries and institutions across the globe. Ms. Von der Leyen is expected to reiterate this commitment at today’s event, which will open the Nature for Life Hub 2021.

Today’s announcements send a strong signal to countries to step up their ambition to protect and restore nature ahead of the COP26 climate conference taking place in Glasgow, UK, in November and the COP15 biodiversity conference taking place in Kunming, China in April/May 2022. They are seen as essential to spurring additional investments in conservation and to ending harmful investments – actions which together will plug the substantial financing gap to implement a new biodiversity framework due to be agreed at the COP15 – a funding shortfall currently estimated at $700 billion per year.

Against the backdrop of worsening environmental crises, leaders from the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, High Ambition Coalition for nature and people, and the Global Ocean Alliance will use today’s event to reaffirm their commitment to reversing biodiversity loss by 2030, joined by other leaders to showcase transformative actions to secure a nature-positive world.

Such actions include support for a future global 30by30 target. Between the Global Ocean Alliance and the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, and in combination with other initiatives, over 100 countries now support the ocean 30by30 target. Today’s groundbreaking financial commitments demonstrate the critical support needed to implement such ambitious biodiversity targets.

Notes to Editors
Today’s Transformative Action for Nature and People event will take place at 08:00 – 10.30 EDT and be streamed live HERE.
Specific conservation commitments and actions showcased today will include:

  • The Mura-Drava-Danube reserve – three rivers stretching 700km through five European countries (Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia) in the so-called ‘Amazon of Europe’ being declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.
  • Indigenous conservation leaders from Canada’s James Bay, Hudson Bay, and Labrador Sea aiming to create six new Indigenous-led Protected Areas.
  • Conservation International’s ongoing commitment to transform tens of millions of hectares of critical landscape and seascapes into models for sustainable growth and economic coexistence with nature.
  • The Green Climate Fund is seeking to expand its investments to restore ecosystems while creating jobs across developing countries.
    Nigeria establishing 10 new national parks.
  • Germany increasing international climate financing to 6bn euros by 2025 at the latest.
  • Belgium increasing their global climate funding commitment by 30% from 70 million to 100 million euros annually and transitioning to sustainable food systems.

The event will also highlight the growing momentum among new endorsers to the three major coalitions. In total, 92 world leaders now support a global goal to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, 72 countries support a target to protect at least 30% of both the world’s land and ocean by 2030, and an additional 31 countries now support a target to protect at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030. Together these three coalitions represent 120 countries, 41% of global GDP and 32% of the world population.