Three CCI partners awarded grants by Bezos Earth Fund supporting work in the Andes and the Congo basin

8th December 2021

Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Birdlife International  and UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) have each received support for projects that further the international  ’30×30 initiative’ to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030. The grants were focused on work in two main areas; the Congo Basin and Tropical Andes

UNEP – WCMC received a $5 million grant which they will use to catalyse support to countries from the Congo basin (Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon) and the Andes region (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru) to become global leaders in the identification, designation, management, monitoring and reporting of protected and conserved areas.

Neville Ash, Director of UNEP-WCMC, says “Protected and conserved areas have a critical role to play in reversing the loss and degradation of nature. With generous support from the Bezos Earth Fund, this work will expand the coverage of protected and conserved areas, improve the effectiveness of their management, and ensure successful monitoring and reporting of progress against national and global targets.”

The Bezos Earth Fund granted a total of $17 million in two grants to BirdLife International to fund scaled up work in two key initiatives, its Conserva Aves partnership and the Key Biodiversity Partnership.

Patricia Zurita, CEO, BirdLife international says “This historic investment shows that the Bezos Earth Fund shares our determination to place nature at the heart of addressing the existential climate and biodiversity emergencies. Our global network of 117 partners is uniquely equipped to provide the boots-on-the-ground conservation action and scientific credibility, along with our other collaborators, to rapidly scale up concrete action to save the planet.”

FFI has made a long-term commitment to the Democratic Republic of Congo and has already worked there for several decades. This new grant from the Bezos Earth Fund will enable them to expand their vital work with their in-country partners to secure the future of this resource-rich area of Africa, and help protect the integrity of the wider carbon-rich Congo Basin rainforest. Crucially, it will  enable them to broaden their remit in the vast Maiko National Park, a remote and challenging location that is in urgent need of protection.

The Congo Basin is home to 70% of Africa’s forests and is one of the most important places for biodiversity and carbon stocks on the planet—yet only 17% of the area is protected today. Each year, large areas are lost to deforestation, while remaining forests are degraded by logging, mining, agriculture, the building of new roads, fuelwood collection, hunting, and other pressures.

Home to more than 12% of all species and a diversity of Indigenous cultures, the Tropical Andes is one of the most diverse regions on the planet. It stores some 200 gigatons of carbon in its forests and other ecosystems, and it includes the headwaters of the Amazon River.

“The goal of the Bezos Earth Fund is to support change agents who are seizing the challenges that this decisive decade presents,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund. “Through these grants, we are advancing climate justice and the protection of nature, two areas that demand stronger action.”

These grants are part of the Bezos Earth Fund’s $10 billion commitment to fight climate change, protect and restore nature, and advance environmental justice and economic opportunity. Funds will be fully allocated by 2030—the date by which the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved.

Read more about UNEP-WCMC’s grant

Read more about Birdlife International’s grant

Read more about FFI’s grant