NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bezos Earth Fund today pledged $1 billion to create, expand, manage, and monitor protected and conserved areas as part of Jeff Bezos's $10 billion commitment to fight climate change and protect and restore nature, while also advancing environmental justice and economic opportunity. This commitment to conservation will focus on areas that are important for biodiversity and carbon stocks and will give emphasis to the central role of local communities and Indigenous peoples in conservation efforts. Beginning this year, the Earth Fund will focus on the Congo Basin, the tropical Andes, and the tropical Pacific Ocean. Broadcast quality video of the event is available here.
This $1 billion pledge will play a key role in the implementation of the 30x30 commitment - a goal to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030 to prevent mass extinctions and bolster resilience to climate change. Science indicates that conserving 30% of the right land and maritime areas could protect up to 80% of plant and animal species, secure 60% of carbon stocks, and sustain two-thirds of clean water. The 30x30 commitment has support from leaders of more than 70 countries around the world and growing.
"When people hanker for the good old days and glamorize the past, they're almost always wrong. By most metrics, life is better than it was in the past. Global poverty rates are lower, infant mortality and life expectancies are better, and education rates are much higher," said Jeff Bezos. "But there is a notable exception - the natural world is not better today than it was 500 years ago, when we enjoyed unspoiled forests, clean rivers, and the pristine air of the pre-industrial age. We can and must reverse this anomaly. By coming together with the right focus and ingenuity, we can have both the benefits of our modern lives and a thriving natural world. I hope this commitment inspires others to make their own pledges to protect and conserve nature and help in the fight against climate change. A job this big needs many allies."
The Bezos Earth Fund will begin disbursement of the $1 billion this year. Grants will be prioritized in regions and countries where there is significant need and opportunity, as well as where there is a strong political commitment to nature, and where local communities and Indigenous Peoples are placed at the heart of conservation programs.
"We must urgently end our war with nature. Ecosystem destruction threatens the well-being of people everywhere," said United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed. "The United Nations believes that investing in nature is investing in our future. Conservation is one of the most effective anti-poverty strategies we have. I warmly welcome this generous commitment, which will help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals."
"This is a hugely welcome announcement. If we are to tackle the climate crisis and preserve the precious biodiversity that has sustained life on this planet for millions of years, we need everyone - governments, businesses, individuals to do everything they can," said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. "I look forward to working more with the Bezos Earth Fund in our shared fight for the planet in the run up to COP26."
"Protecting 30% of our planet must be a priority for all nations. Colombia has endorsed this as a member of the High Ambition for Nature and People, and we are doing our part through the Herencia Colombia initiative," said Iván Duque Márquez, President of Colombia. "We warmly welcome this announcement from the Bezos Earth Fund, and invite other donors to support protected and conserved areas, as a solution for nature, climate and people."
"Last year, global loss of primary forest equaled twice the emissions of all cars on the road in the US. To turn the tide on the climate crisis, we must stop destroying forests and other fragile ecosystems, and conserve and restore the world's carbon sinks," said John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. "The Bezos Earth Fund's commitment of $1 billion to conserve and expand critical high carbon stocks comes at a pivotal moment as we seek to avoid the loss of irreplaceable biodiversity and further destabilization of the climate."
The commitment announced today represents the first of a three-part Nature strategy the Bezos Earth Fund will support. The focus here is on conservation. Future commitments will be for landscape restoration and on food system transformation.
"The Earth Fund is focused on funding innovative programs with the potential to create catalytic change," said Andrew Steer, President of the Bezos Earth Fund. "This includes both stabilizing the natural resources we have today and investing in ideas and projects that will accelerate our future. Bold steps to conserve of our land and water while also supporting Indigenous and local communities are needed urgently, and we look forward to working with partner organizations around the world to implement this vision."
About the Bezos Earth FundThe Bezos Earth Fund is Jeff Bezos's $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and other actors that will drive climate and nature solutions. By allocating funds creatively, wisely, and boldly, the Bezos Earth Fund has the potential for transformative influence in this decisive decade. Funds will be fully allocated by 2030—the date by which the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved. For more information on the Bezos Earth Fund, please visit: www.bezosearthfund.org
SOURCE Bezos Earth Fund