In 2013, Swiss philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss signed The Giving Pledge, where he committed to give away at least half his wealth to charitable causes. Last fall Wyss really put his money into that pledge with the announcement of the Wyss Foundation launching a $1 billion campaign to rapidly expand the percentage of land and ocean under the protection of conservation. The goal of the Wyss Campaign for Nature is to help countries around the world conserve 30% of the planet in its natural state by 2030.
These efforts include encouraging establishing more ambitious protected areas, investing in science and inspiring conversation action and investments.
“From the forests that supply our drinking water to the rugged backcountry that inspires the imagination of our children, everyone on Earth has a stake in conserving our planet’s wild places before they are gone,” said Wyss, who launched the Wyss Foundation in 1998, in a statement. “I believe that to confront the global conservation crisis, we need to do far more to support locally-led initiatives that conserve lands in the public trust so that everyone has a chance to experience and explore the wonders of the outdoors.”
These commitments include grants awarded to The Nature Conservancy and the National Geographic Society where the funds will address climate change and issues around the collapse of fisheries and clean drinking water. The $1 billion commitment approximately tripled the Wyss Campaign for Nature’s commitment in conservation outside the U.S. over the next 11 years.
At the time of the announcement, the group outlined four primary strategies to achieve the goal of conserving 30% of the planet by 2030:
1. Support on-the-ground, locally-led conservation projects: The Wyss Campaign for Nature will provide financial support to organizations that are working with indigenous communities, local leaders, and a wide range of stakeholders to establish, expand, or improve the management of parks and protected areas. The Nature Conservancy, Aves Argentinas, Fundación Flora y Fauna Argentina, the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust, and Fundatia Conservation Carpathia are among the organizations receiving over $48 million in funding commitments for the first round of on-the-ground conservation projects that the Wyss Campaign for Nature is supporting. Altogether, these projects will help protect approximately 10 million acres of land and 17,000 square kilometers of large, ecologically rich ocean areas across 13 countries.
2. Increase international conservation targets: The Wyss Campaign for Nature will support efforts to significantly raise the global targets for marine and terrestrial protection, which will be updated at the 2020 meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in China. These targets set minimum percentages of lands and waters that parties in the convention agree to place into conservation status in order to protect critical ecosystems. Protected area conservation is a key component of the global effort to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The Wyss Campaign for Nature, along with our many conservation partners, is calling on world leaders to commit to protecting at least 30 percent of the world’s marine and land environments by 2030.
3. Inspire to action: The Wyss Foundation is partnering with the National Geographic Society to raise public awareness about the global conservation crisis by highlighting notable stories of conservation successes and challenges. This effort will inspire citizens, policymakers, and other philanthropic organizations to help accelerate the protection of Earth’s lands, waters, and wildlife through investments in nature conservation.
4. Use science to maximize conservation gains: The Wyss Foundation is sponsoring a pilot project through the University of Bern, Switzerland, to support practical scientific analysis to ensure that effective, economically beneficial, and innovative land conservation strategies are studied, widely shared, and implemented on a global scale.