Legacy Landscapes Fund introduced in Glasgow

Date: November 9, 2021

The Legacy Landscapes Fund was presented at the climate summit in Glasgow as an innovative financing instrument for not only biodiversity, but also for climate protection and adaptation. The LLF helps closing the financing gap for both urgent global problems. 

Discussion about biodiversity and climate at the summit in Glasgow, from left to right: Aileen Lee (Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation), Stefanie Lang (Legacy Landscapes Fund), Barbara Schnell (KfW), Gilles Kleitz (AFD), Peter Hilliges (Moderator, KfW). Screenshot: Lea Helm / LLF.

In a side event entitled “Conservation Trust Funds as Boosters for Nature Based Solution” the Legacy Landscapes Fund introduced itself to a larger international public and to the climate funding community. The discussion showed once again that the climate and biodiversity crisis are intertwined and interdependent. And it became evident that there is still an enormous financing gap.

All speakers on the podium agreed that the two crises have to be seen and addressed together. Barbara Schnell, Head of Sector Policy Department at KfW Development Bank, pointed to the importance of carbon sinks as an essential element of becoming carbon neutral. She called nature based solutions a “bridge” to climate mitigation and adaptation. It was very important, she said, to keep forests and protected areas intact for their services as nature-based solutions: “It is much better to save mangroves than to build dykes.”  Schnell also stated the opinion that climate funding should also contribute to biodiversity funding.

Greater convergence necessary

Gilles Kleitz from the French Development Agency AFD also asked for a greater “convergence” of climate and biodiversity – in every respect, not least in financing. He informed the audience of AFD´s goal to spend 30 % of its climate budget on biodiversity because “we have to bring the two together”. Nature based solutions, he said, had a great potential and we should promote them much more. Therefore, the Legacy Landscapes Fund (LLF), he said, “comes at the right point in time” because now long-term commitments were needed. Currently, he said, only about one third of the necessary biodiversity funding was available – to save essential biodiversity and to protect the climate.

The LLF is an international public private fund for biodiversity, officially launched in May 2021. It goes back to a German initiative but is open to donors from around the world. Its financing was kick-started by KfW Development Bank on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) but its financial resources stem from public and private sources.

A climate and biodiversity fund

The Executive Director of the LLF, Stefanie Lang, introduced some of the key features of this new Fund in Glasgow that is providing long-term financing to at least 30 legacy landscapes in developing countries. Presently it has a funding volume of around 180 million dollars but is envisioned to grow to up to 1 billion dollars. The LLF starts with seven pilot sites of which two have already been officially approved: Madidi and North Luangwa National Parks in Bolivia and Zambia. Others will follow in the coming months.

Stefanie Lang presenting the Legacy Landscapes Fund; screenshot: Lea Helm / LLF.

By supporting these seven sites LLF helps to store up to 1.54 gigatons of carbon which is converted into unites of carbon dioxide roughly equivalent to 16 % of the global annual carbon emissions. This figure shows, said Stefanie Lang, that the LLF “is not only a biodiversity fund but is as much a climate fund as well.” Along those lines Aileen Lee from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation called the LLF “an important piece of the solution” also to the climate crisis. Barbara Schnell added that the LLF was not only an innovative financial mechanism but also an important standard setter for protected areas, human rights and work with adjacent communities.

Aileen Lee from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is member of the LLF Supervisory Board; screenshot: Lea Helm / LLF.
Watch the recording COP26 IDFC Pavillon Event: Conservation Trust Funds as Boosters for Nature-Based Solutions: A Case Study
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