Jointly with partners, contributors, funders and supporters from around the world Minister Gerd Müller and Executive Director Stefanie Lang officially launched the Legacy Landscapes Fund. The Fund aims at contributing to stop the dramatic loss of biodiversity.
Berlin, Germany. The Legacy Landscapes Fund (LLF) has officially been introduced to the public in an international launch event on May 19th. A wide array of partners and supporters from around the world complimented the leadership of the German Government in this matter. Among them were the British actor Idris Elba, the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, the UN Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, Patricia Espinosa, the UN Executive Secretary on the Convention of Biological Diversity, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, United Kingdom´s Minister of State, Zac Goldsmith, and many more.
Minister Müller said it was high time to tackle the problem of biodiversity loss because “every four seconds forest the size of a soccer field gets lost and every 11 minutes one species goes extinct.” The Fund goes back to a German initiative but is now developing into an international public-private entity, created to effectively fund nature conservation in developing countries. Germany has kick-started the fund with a contribution of 82.5 million Euros.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation contributed 5 million US-Dollars. Additionally, around 30 million dollars have been pledged and earmarked from private sources so far, including from the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation, the Wyss Foundation and the Arcadia Fund. France announced during the launch that it will contribute to the fund beginning of 2022. The goal is to reach a stock of 1 billion dollars as soon as possible.
Important key features of the fund are: The LLF puts the needs and rights of local communities at the centre of its work and it collaborates with experienced non-governmental organizations on the ground. This was of particular importance to the Fund, explained Stefanie Lang during the launch event, because conservation had to be done with the people, not against them. “For the first time we are working in a broad partnership not only in terms of the funders but also in terms of the beneficiaries.” This “makes the fund special.”
Idris Elba said the LLF “has the right partners and the right approach” because it brings together public and private donors for a common goal: better protection of nature in order to safeguard some of the most important areas on Earth. Harvey Fineberg from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation described the fund as being “a bold, farsighted public-private partnership to conserve important natural areas around the world.” Christof Schenck from the Frankfurt Zoological Society praised the fund because it “gives protected areas a future perspective and for us, a future with a healthy planet.” Others participants argued along those lines.
The two representatives from the United Nations, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, and Patricia Espinosa emphasized the fact that the climate and the biodiversity crisis are connected and must be addressed jointly. “If we look at biodiversity, including species and ecosystems, all are influenced by climate vulnerability such as extreme weather conditions”, said Maruma Mrema. The two are “crucially linked, we cannot consider any of them in isolation”, confirmed Patricia Espinosa. John Kerry also pointed out that “for far too long the biodiversity crisis has been seen as separate from climate change” but the loss of nature in extraordinary amounts “is a part of the climate crisis.”
The event was complemented by different impressions and voices from around the globe, featuring indigenous people, rangers, park directors, conservationists and NGO representatives from all world regions. They shared their experiences from different angles and expressed appreciation for the solid and dependable funding the LLF is intended for.
The Legacy Landscapes Fund is thought to provide at least 30 protected areas in developing countries with long-term and stable resources so that they can effectively protect biodiversity. In total, they will cover an area of at least 60.000 square kilometres which is double the size of Belgium.