This unique fund 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, including natural World Heritage sites.
The Legacy Landscapes Fund (LLF) aims to address one of the main bottlenecks for the conservation of globally significant protected areas located in the developing world: the lack of a secured funding source to cover basic management and protection costs. Often these protected areas are underfunded by governments and rely on project-based donor funding, which is temporary in nature. The fund intends to fill this gap by providing a minimum of 30 protected areas with long-term and stable resources. Given its focus on the most important protected areas for biodiversity on the planet, natural World Heritage sites can be among its beneficiaries.
The new fund was launched during a special online event on 19 May 2021 with participants from around the globe. It was chaired by Gerd Müller, Minister for Development Cooperation of Germany, and speakers included John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), among others.
Germany has kick-started the fund with a contribution of 82.5 million Euros. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation contributed US$5 million. Additionally, around US$30 million have been pledged and earmarked from private sources so far, including from Rob and Melani Walton Foundation, the Wyss Foundation and the Arcadia Fund. The goal is to reach US$1 billion as soon as possible.
Mechtild Rössler, Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre said, "In spite of their World Heritage status, many of our natural World Heritage sites are threatened and depend on outside funding to ensure their basic management. The Legacy Landscapes Fund is providing a solution to address this chronic underfunding of some of our natural World Heritage sites. For this reason, UNESCO is proud to have been part of the creation of this new and innovative funding mechanism."
The UNESCO World Heritage Centre has been a strategic partner in the development of the LLF since its inception. More information on the LLF can be found at https://legacylandscapes.org/.