Legacy Landscapes Fund presented itself at IUCN Congress

Date: September 8, 2021

The Legacy Landscapes Fund – in cooperation with BMZ and KfW – introduced itself as new and innovative funder of area-based conservation to a large international audience in Marseille. On this occasion, the German government announced to raise its contribution by 44 million dollars to a total of 180 million dollars.  

Panel 1 – Bertrand Walckenaer (AFD), Christiane Laibach (KfW), Julia Miranda Londoño (IUCN)

Marseille, France The LLF hosted a 90-minute event on financing biodiversity with a number of renowned speakers from around the world. Among them was Germany’s Development Minister, Gerd Müller. He urged the audience to act on biodiversity protection and announced the increase of Germany’s contribution to LLF in a video message.

Panellists discussed ways to close the financing gap for biodiversity in general, the value of conservation trust funds, and the unique model of the LLF in particular. In addition, Executive Director Stefanie Lang introduced LLF-features in more detail. It was highlighted again, that if 30 percent of the Earth’s surface are really to be protected through sustainable management and conservation, as scientists demand, a lot more money has to be raised: It is estimated that between 500 and 700 billion dollars are necessary each year.

Asked whether he found that goal may be too ambitious, the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, said in Marseille: „The 30by30-target is possible and doable but it needs political commitment and leadership.“ He emphasized that protected areas had to be supported with financial contributions. This was even more crucial in times of the Covid Pandemic, he said, as income from tourism was missing currently. Dessalegn called a financing mechanism like LLF „very important“ and expressed his hope that this fund would grow further and attract more contributors globally.

Christiane Laibach, Member of KfW´s Management Board, commended the LLF for several of its features: It was flexible, had a global outreach, combined public and private funds, secured long-term financing of conservation and included local and indigenous communities. „With the LLF we make a big step ahead in conservation“, she said. KfW kick-started the LLF on behalf of the German government which has since become an international financing instrument with donors from different regions and spheres and a budget of currently 180 million dollars. It is planned to increase the LLF-funds to 1 billion dollars until 2030 in order finance a number of the most important biodiversity hotspots in developing countries on a long-term basis.

The Vice-CEO of the French developing agency AFD, Bertrand Walckenaer, explained why AFD is also planning to contribute to LLF: Because the fund would eventually support landscapes that represent twice the size of Belgium in total; and because the LLF matched the goals of France to spend one third of its climate financing on biodiversity conservation. In his opinion, „the LLF is a good example of how finance can give long-term perspective to people and territories”.

The next decade was decisive for protected areas and landscapes, said Aileen Lee from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; it needed to be a decade of action with funds from all possible sources. For philanthropists like her organization, the LLF was an opportunity to leverage their own resources with public money, combining public sector scrutiny with the agility of the philanthropic sector. She expressed the expectation that the LLF would balance those two aspects with a high independency.

Christof Schenck from the Frankfurt Zoological Society, James Hardcastle and Julia Miranda Londoño from IUCN, Lilian Painter from the World Conservation Society as well as Barry Gold from the Walton Foundation also argued along those lines: They considered the LLF as a promising new model and a good opportunity to scale up financing for conservation and, maybe more importantly, have a long-term perspective, even thinking about perpetuity. It was widely agreed during the event that local communities and indigenous peoples had to be an integral part of all efforts in conservation, including their rights and needs.  

Stefanie Lang closed the session by stating that the LLF had all the ingredients for success:  „The value proposition is there“. What it needed now were further partners to come in and contribute in this effort to address biodiversity loss and build nature-based solutions to address climate change. “The door is wide open. Please join the LLF!”

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