Message from the Executive Director, Stefanie Lang
It is not every day that you get the chance to build something truly game-changing from scratch, but that is what I have the enormous privilege of embarking on with the launch of the new Legacy Landscapes Fund (LLF).
After 20 years working in conservation – in the private, public and NGO sectors, in East Africa, South East Asia, and Europe – it is an incredible opportunity to help transform the dimension of nature protection.
And perhaps the best part is that LLF has a clear and important mission that meets a clear and important need. Humanity is pushing nature to the brink, driving alarming and accelerating rates of biodiversity loss that threatens human health and wellbeing. Climate change adds to this loss of nature and is also accelerated further by the destruction of ecosystems that store CO2. Well-managed protected areas are proven to be one of the best tools for addressing the two crises, but there are two key problems holding back this solution. First, a lack of adequate, reliable, long-term, and sustainable financing has been widely identified in causing a bottleneck for effectively managing protected areas. Second, while about 75% of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are found in developing and emerging countries, less than 20% of global funding for protected areas is spent in these regions.
LLF has been created to fill the gap created by these imbalances by providing at least 30 globally significant large-scale protected areas in developing countries with long-term, stable financial support. Together they will cover an area of much more than 60,000 square kilometres of our planet’s most important ecosystems – that’s twice the size of Belgium.
We have set ourselves the target to achieve this goal by 2030. And to ensure lasting protection, we intend to set up a 1 billion USD Fund including some share of sinking and some share of endowment funding with public and private donors to contribute to the operational costs of the 30 legacy landscapes in perpetuity. That is the challenge for LLF’s partners, the Supervisory Board, and a small team of staff – including me!
Luckily, we are off to a good start, thanks to a kick-off endowment from the German Government and first contribution from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Pledges of support have also been made by the French Government, the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation, the Wyss Foundation, and the Arcadia Fund. This support allows us to already start 7 pilot projects in national parks in Angola, Bolivia, Cambodia, the Congo, Indonesia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, in collaboration with experienced NGOs on the ground. And that is just the beginning!
The Legacy Landscapes Fund is unique because it brings together public and private donors for a common goal: to safeguard some of the most important areas on Earth for the benefit of all humanity. The other key feature of LLF is that it prioritizes lasting partnerships and centres the needs and rights of local communities as one priority of its work.
I am excited to be able to work in this new global conservation start-up and bring my passion, experience, and skills to ensure that this Fund realizes its full potential to contribute to healthy biodiversity and effective conservation at a global scale.
Natural habitats and biodiversity are precious assets that must be protected and cared for. By ensuring that the costs of nature protection are covered, the Legacy Landscapes Fund is addressing a key threat to the survival of all the world’s species, including Humankind.
I look forward to keeping you informed of our activities as we work together to achieve our mission and hope you will join our online Launch Event on 19 May.
Stefanie Lang, Executive Director of LLF