WWF hails largest-ever private funding commitment for biodiversity as a “momentous move for a ‘nature-positive’ world”

Posted on 22 September 2021

$5 billion of funding is to be announced by philanthropists for biodiversity restoration and conservation

NEW YORK CITY, United States (22 September) -- Game changing new funding for biodiversity - representing the biggest-ever philanthropic commitment to nature conservation - and commitments to stop harmful investments will be announced today at a high-level event on the margins of the UN General Assembly in a move described by WWF as a game changer that will help safeguard humanity, prevent pandemics and create essential new jobs.


The event, Transformative Action for Nature and People, will bring together leaders from across the world to showcase and announce actions to reverse biodiversity loss and secure a nature-positive world by 2030. More than 20 Heads of State and Governments will be joined by leading funders, NGOs, and Indigenous voices to drive forward momentum for nature and people.

The event will see a striking $5 billion pledge from nine organisations - the biggest-ever

philanthropic commitment to nature conservation. The $5 billion pledge over the next 10 years focuses on supporting 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. 

This commitment to ensure 30% of the planet is protected and preserved in the most important places for biodiversity by 2030 is being made jointly by Arcadia, one of the UK's largest philanthropic foundations; Bezos Earth Fund; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Nia Tero; Rainforest Trust ($500 million); Re:wild; Wyss Foundation ($500 million); and the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation. 

Commenting on the financial commitments, Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, said: “Today's announcements show that the world is converging around the need to reverse the loss of nature and is beginning to mobilise funds at scale, making a promising move towards closing the $700 billion per year funding gap** to reverse nature loss.

“Adopting a clear nature-positive global goal will drive the repurposing of public and private funding to support sustainable practices in the sectors that today are driving nature and biodiversity loss, like agriculture, fishing, infrastructures. It is possible and it also makes economic sense, as today we know that the cost of inaction will be huge and tragic. This is not only essential for nature: it will safeguard humanity, help prevent pandemics and create essential new jobs.”


Nature is currently declining at rates unseen in human history, with up to one million species threatened by extinction. Recent research from WWF revealed that 39 million jobs could be created if governments reallocated the $500 billion governments spent on harmful subsidies every year into employment which is nature-positive.

The event will also include a transformational announcement from Finance for Biodiversity Pledge that 75 financial institutions from around the globe - worth a collective 12 trillion euros in assets - will commit to protecting and restoring biodiversity through their finance activities and investments***. 


World leaders including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez, and Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria, will all make contributions to the event, which was held in New York and virtually.


Actions to be showcased at the event include the Mura-Drava-Danube reserve - three rivers stretching 700km through five European countries - being declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO; plans by Indigenous conservation leaders from Canada to create six new Indigenous-led Protected Areas; the Green Climate Fund is seeking to expand its investments to restore restore ecosystems while creating jobs across developing countries; Costa Rica expanding their Cocos Island National Park to help achieve the protection of 30% of their ocean; Nigeria establishing 10 new national parks; and Belgium increasing its global climate funding commitment by 30% from 70 million to 100 million euros annually and transitioning to sustainable food systems.


“Our world must not only become more equitable and carbon neutral, but by 2030, it must also become nature positive - and multiple governments and other actors are already supporting this goal,'' said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International. “Today’s outcome will take us a big and necessary step closer to securing a nature-positive world through transformative actions and funding that will be key to securing an ambitious agreement which will ensure there is more nature in the world in 2030 than there was at the start of the decade. It’s time to focus on what’s necessary, not only what is politically negotiable. Today's show of leadership is a step in that direction.”  

Against the backdrop of worsening environmental crises, leaders from the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, High Ambition Coalition for nature and people, and the Global Ocean Alliance are expected to reaffirm their commitment to reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 and be joined by other mega-biodiverse countries to showcase transformative actions to secure a nature-positive world.

The growing momentum for nature will also be showcased through the announcement of new members of the three coalitions, with Liberia, Rwanda, and Sudan officially endorsing the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature.


Notes to Editors

Contact: news@wwfint.org 

WWF is a partner of today’s Transformative Action for Nature and People event, which will take place at 08:00 - 10.30 EDT on 22 September and be streamed live HERE. This virtual event will bring together world leaders representing countries from all regions, to showcase and announce new action on nature, and set out how they have delivered on commitments since September 2020. 

In total, 92 world leaders now support a global goal to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, 72 countries support a target to protect at least 30% of both the world’s land and ocean by 2030 and an additional 31 countries support a target to protect at least 30% of the world's ocean. Together these three coalitions represent 120 countries, 41% of global GDP and 32% of the world population. 

**To reverse the decline in biodiversity by 2030, analysis from the Paulson Institute suggests that, globally, we need to spend between US$ 722-967 billion each year over the next ten years. That puts the biodiversity financing gap at an average US$ 711 billion or between US$ 598-824 billion per year.


***Each will assess their impact on nature, set targets and disclose their progress in their annual reports before 2025, thereby making an important contribution to reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 and reducing any existing investments which are harmful to nature.

WWF is an independent conservation organization, with over 30 million followers and a global network active in nearly 100 countries. Our mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit panda.org/news for the latest news and media resources; follow us on Twitter @WWF_media


The Leaders Pledge for Nature is a commitment to reverse biodiversity loss by the end of the decade which was launched at the UN General Assembly in 2020. The pledge is a direct response to the need for urgent and immediate global action to address our interdependent biodiversity, climate and health crises. It has so far been endorsed by 90 world leaders, including six G7 countries, 8 G20 countries and several of the world’s top biodiversity-rich countries such as the UK, France, Germany, Colombia and Costa Rica, representing over 37% GDP and over a quarter of the world population. It is also supported by more than 80 organisations including WWF, the World Health Organization, Conservation International, BirdLife International. Leaders have committed to review their progress and reaffirm their commitments to the pledge at the High Level Event on 22 September.


The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People is an intergovernmental group of 72 countries co-chaired by Costa Rica and France and by the UK as Ocean co-chair, championing a global deal for nature and people with the central goal of protecting at least 30 percent of world’s land and ocean by 2030. The 30x30 target is a global target which aims to halt the accelerating loss of species, and protect vital ecosystems that are the source of our economic security.


The Global Ocean Alliance is a 100 country strong alliance, led by the UK. Its aim is to protect at least 30% of the global ocean in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) by 2030. This is known as the “30by30 target”.

World leaders participating in the High Level Event on Transformative Action for Nature and People