Wyss Campaign for Nature to Make Second Round of Philanthropic Investments Towards $1 Billion Conservation Commitment

Zamora Chinchipe Provincial Reserve | Photo credit: Fabián Rodas López, Nature & Culture International

Zamora Chinchipe Provincial Reserve | Photo credit: Fabián Rodas López, Nature & Culture International

The Wyss Campaign for Nature today announced that it will provide up to an additional $44 million in philanthropic support for locally-driven conservation projects that will help secure new, permanent protections for up to 10 million acres of land on four continents. With this second round of philanthropic investment, the Wyss Campaign for Nature has made nearly $100 million in commitments and grants to locally-led conservation projects since launching in October, 2018.

The new conservation funding – recently authorized by the Wyss Foundation’s board of directors – keeps the Wyss Campaign for Nature on track to fulfill Hansjörg Wyss’s commitment to donate $1 billion over the next decade to help accelerate land and ocean conservation efforts around the world, with the goal of protecting at least 30 percent of the planet by 2030.

This second, $44 million round of philanthropy will enable the Wyss Campaign for Nature to work with local partners, supporting new conservation projects in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Zambia, and Tanzania. The campaign looks forward to publicly announcing individual projects in the coming weeks and months.

Wyss Campaign for Nature Stats, 2018-2019

  • Total philanthropic support pledged: $1 billion 

  • Total philanthropic support approved for on-the-ground projects (as of July 2019): $92 million

  • Lands to be permanently protected: 20 million acres

  • Oceans to be permanently protected: 17,000 square kilometers

Since the launch of the Wyss Campaign for Nature, scientists have alerted the world in the starkest of terms that the state of nature is in dire straits: one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction, many within years because of human activities; 75 percent of the Earth’s lands and 67 percent of its oceans have been heavily modified by humans. A panel of the world’s leading scientists warned earlier this year that the ongoing loss of nature and wildlife presents an existential threat to humans and to the basic foundations of our economies. 

Thankfully, it is not too late to change course and safeguard much of what remains. 

From the rainforests of the Amazon basin to the alpine lakes and lowland wetlands in Argentina, from the Australian bush to wildlife-rich savannahs of eastern Africa, and from the untouched swaths of Canada’s boreal forest to intact coral reefs in the Caribbean, opportunities abound to permanently protect new parks, marine protected areas, wildlife reserves, and indigenous conservation areas.

To that end, the Wyss Campaign for Nature is hard at work on a two-pronged effort to accelerate the pace and scale of nature conservation. 

Its first goal is to increase global conservation ambitions by convincing over 190 nations to commit to protecting 30 percent of the planet’s lands and waters by 2030 – and to provide sufficient funding to manage protected areas – when they meet at the Convention on Biological Diversity meetings in Kunming, China next year. 

Currently, only about 15 percent of the planet’s lands and less than 8 percent of its oceans are protected. Scientists are in broad agreement that we must manage at least 30 percent of the planet as natural areas – on the way to protecting half the Earth – if we are going to stem the tide of wildlife extinction and the mounting nature crisis. Nations will have an opportunity in Kunming, China to chart a new path by adopting ambitious policies to meet the scale of the challenge.

The Wyss Campaign for Nature’s second goal is to support local and indigenous-led efforts to secure meaningful protections for ecologically-significant and economically-important lands, waters, and wildlife. 

Previously, the Wyss Campaign for Nature approved projects that will protect up to 10 million acres of lands and 17,000 square kilometers of oceans. This second round of campaign philanthropy will help permanently protect up to 10 million additional acres of land as new parks, wildlife reserves, and indigenous protected areas.

Since the campaign’s launch, Hansjörg Wyss and the Wyss Foundation have committed $750,000 to help the Dehcho First Nation in Canada’s Northwest Territories create an Indigenous guardians program to conduct on-the-ground management of the soon-to-be-established 3.5 million acre Edéhzhíe Dehcho Protected Area and National Wildlife Area. The campaign has pledged $22 million to Fundación Flora y Fauna Argentina to purchase and protect nearly 100,000 acres of lands within Aconquija National Parks, one of Argentina’s newest parks, while also supporting the successful effort to establish two new marine protected areas in ecologically-critical waters off the southern coast of the country. It has helped local and indigenous communities in Bolivia protect nearly 4 million acres of Amazon rainforest as the Bajo Madidi Municipal Conservation Area. It has supported efforts in Peru to permanently protect the wildlife-rich Boshumi Regional Conservation Area – an important watershed, providing water for drinking and agriculture to 69,000 people. And the list goes on.

The work to protect 30 percent of the planet is just beginning. Please keep your eyes peeled here for more news on the Wyss Campaign for Nature’s ongoing efforts, and visit www.GlobalDealForNature.org to sign a petition supporting the 30 by 30 goal that will be delivered to world leaders ahead of the 2020 meeting.

Wyss Campaign for Nature, Local Conservation Projects

Greg Zimmerman