ICFC Pledges $100 million as part of the ‘Protecting Our Planet Challenge’

The Kayapo have an uphill battle to protect their Indigenous Territories in the Brazilian Amazon. (Photo by Martin Schoeller)

The International Conservation Fund of Canada Pledges $100 million as part of the New ‘Protecting Our Planet Challenge’ to Protect and Conserve 30% of Planet by 2030

Canadian group joins other funders in the largest-ever private funding commitment—over $5 billion aimed at tackling Earth’s climate and extinction crises

Chester, Nova Scotia,  November 2, 2021 – The International Conservation Fund of Canada (ICFC) is joining nine other organizations that have pledged more than $5 billion over the next 10 years to support the creation, expansion, management and monitoring of protected and conserved areas of land, inland water and sea, working with Indigenous Peoples, local communities, civil society and governments. The other funders are Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin; Bezos Earth Fund; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Nia Tero; Rainforest Trust; Re:wild; Wyss Foundation; and the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation.

The Protecting our Planet Challenge is the largest private funding commitment ever to biodiversity conservation. 

ICFC has joined this challenge with a pledge of $100 million (US) to help address the planet’s most life-threatening crises: the climate crisis, extinction crisis, and related health impacts – with an emphasis on the role of nature and the leadership of Indigenous Peoples in solving them.  ICFC focuses its work on tropical regions where threats to natural ecosystems and species are greatest.

Scientists have been sounding alarm bells about the crisis facing the planet’s biodiversity and have called on policy leaders to help transform humanity’s relationship with nature or risk mass plant and animal extinctions, with serious implications for global economic and social wellbeing. Currently, one million species are at risk of going extinct, many within decades.  Protecting and restoring natural ecosystems is expected to be a central topic under consideration at this week’s COP 26 climate meetings in Glasgow.

The High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People is an intergovernmental coalition of 72 nations championing a global goal to protect at least 30 percent of the planet’s lands and ocean by 2030. This 30x30 target is a core component of the global strategic plan to safeguard biodiversity, which will be finalized at the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties next May in Kunming, China. This target has been adopted by Canada and endorsed by more than 1,400 civil society organization and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations.

Studies show that protected areas are the most cost-effective way to safeguard nature, vulnerable human populations, and the climate, provided they are well-managed and respect the rights and needs of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Research findings indicate that the conservation and effective management and guardianship of at least 30% of the planet in the most important places for biodiversity could protect up to 80% of all plant and animal species, and secure 60% of the planet’s carbon stocks and 66% of the planet’s clean water.  The private funders in this challenge are supporting projects around the globe that will help achieve these goals.

The Protecting Our Planet Challenge urgently calls for additional private and governmental financial support to address the biodiversity and climate crises that are threatening communities and wildlife across the globe.

Asked what Canadians can do, ICFC’s executive director, Molly Bartlett, says they can help by letting politicians know they consider this a priority and by supporting conservation organizations that work within Canada and internationally.  “The time to act is now – there will not be an opportunity to do so later”, she says. “The next ten years are critical.”

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