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News from 2021-05-21 / KfW Development Bank

Official launch of the Legacy Landscapes Fund

German Federal Minister Gerd Müller and Director Stefanie Lang present the new fund to the general public – along with many other international personalities.

Participants launch event LLF
Moderator Dirk Steffens, the two UN Executive Directors Patricia Espinosa (top right), Elizabeth Maruma Mrema (bottom left) and Development Minister Gerd Müller

German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller and the director of the Legacy Landscapes Fund (LLF), Stefanie Lang, presented the new fund to the general public on 19 May – along with partners and supporters from all over the world. The task of the fund is to stop the dramatic decline in species richness by supporting some of the most important biodiversity hotspots in developing countries. KfW is one of the LLF’s initiators.

Participants of the digital event included the British actor Idris Elba, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the British Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment Zac Goldsmith, and many more.

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry
United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry

Federal Minister Müller said it was high time the rapid decline in biodiversity was stopped, as “every four seconds an area of forest the size of a football field is lost, and a species becomes extinct every eleven minutes”. He believes the best method to achieve this is well-managed conservation areas.

The LLF stems from a German initiative by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and KfW, among others, and has now developed into an international public-private financing tool. Its objective is to establish conservation in developing countries on a sustainable basis. 80% of biodiversity is concentrated on 20% of the Earth’s surface and is predominantly found in poorer areas of the world, where they often do not have the means necessary for effective conservation. The LLF is trying to close this gap. Germany has provided EUR 82.5 million of start-up funding via KfW.

A further USD 5 million were donated by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. In addition, USD 35 million are already budgeted from other private sources, including the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation, the Wyss Foundation and the Arcadia Fund. During the event, France also announced its intention to support the fund from 2022 as well.

Host Dirk Steffens and LLF Director Stefanie Lang
Host Dirk Steffens and LLF Director Stefanie Lang

The target is an overall sum of USD 1 billion. The fund aims to finance at least 30 of the most important conservation areas in developing countries over the long term, ensuring that they can maintain vital biodiversity. Together, they should cover an area of more than 60,000km2. This is roughly equivalent to twice the size of Belgium.

In doing so, the LLF is working together with experienced non-governmental organisations which are locally active. The fund also places great emphasis on the needs and rights of the local populations at the heart of its work. This is particularly important for the LLF, stressed Stefanie Lang at the launch event, as conservation only works when people support it, not when the protection efforts adversely affect them. “For the fist time, we really are working as partners, not just in terms of the financiers, but also in relation to the beneficiaries.” That “makes the fund something really special.”

Idris Elba, actor and conservationist
Idris Elba, actor and conservationist

Idris Elba said that the LLF had “the correct approach and the right partners” as it brings public and private donors together for a common cause: for better conservation to protect some of the most important regions of the Earth. Harvey Fineberg from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation called the LLF a “bold and visionary public-private partnership” working to protect conservation areas all over the world. Christof Schenck from the Frankfurt Zoological Society praised the fund as it “offers conservation areas a real perspective for the future and gives us hope for a future on a healthy planet”. Many other participants expressed similar opinions.

The two representatives from the United Nations, Elisabeth Maruma Mrema and Patricia Espinosa, emphasised that the climate and biodiversity crises are linked and must therefore be approached collectively. John Kerry also stated that, for much too long now, the biodiversity crisis has wrongly been viewed separately from climate change. Even though “nature is our best defence strategy for climate change”.

Park officer Mbulo Chakanga
Park officer Mbulo Chakanga

Different impressions and voices from all over the world added to the event, including images of landscapes and natural reserves, as well as statements from indigenous peoples, rangers, park directors, conservationists and NGO representatives from every continent. They all shared experiences from different perspectives and expressed their appreciation for the LLF, as it provides something that makes their lives easier, yet is often lacking: sound and reliable financing for conservation.

The Legacy Landscapes Fund website

Launch of the Legacy Landscapes Fund – YouTube

Interview with Stefanie Lang in KfW Stories

Legacy Landscapes Fund – A New Dimension in Nature Protection – YouTube