Bezos Earth Fund provides $5 million to protect Africa’s critical biodiversity hotspots

Tropical Andes in Peru

Bezos Earth Fund has provided $5 million for conservation and protection of the most important sites for nature in Africa’s Congo Basin and South America’s Tropical Andes.

The funding will help map and conserve some of earth’s most important but least known biodiversity hotspots and carbon sinks.

BirdLife International received the money on behalf of the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) Partnership yesterday.

“We know that the Congo Basin and Tropical Andes contain some of the most important biodiversity and carbon sinks in the world today, but nobody can pinpoint the precise locations of importance on a map—which means those places can’t be adequately conserved and protected. Through national coordination groups of stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, our work over the next two years will provide national and local governments, NGOs and the international community with desperately needed tools to fight the loss of nature, species extinctions and climate change,” said BirdLife International CEO Patricia Zurita.

She added that ensuring that decision-makers from government, the private sector and civil society know where these sites are, and have easy access to site information, is essential to the effective planning of investments in conservation, infrastructure, and sustainable economic development.

“The Bezos Earth Fund shares BirdLife’s determination to place nature at the heart of addressing the urgent, existential climate and biodiversity emergencies.”

Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are critical to sustaining life on the planet –the most important places for nature and Earth’s species and ecosystems, identified using a common global standard. By strengthening and expanding KBA networks in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Gabon, Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of the Congo, the funding will help prevent species extinction and ecosystem collapse, enhance carbon storage and sequestration, support adaptation to climate change, and underpin the sustainable delivery of ecosystem services to people, especially indigenous and local communities. This experience can then rapidly be replicated and scaled up to further conserve and protect areas of high biodiversity importance globally.

BirdLife International has 100 years of scientific expertise and experience illustrating how birds act as biodiversity indicators. The wealth of scientific data BirdLife have developed on bird distributions and migrations helps rapidly identify the most critical remaining sites for threatened biodiversity.

Many of these sites are irreplaceable, and all are critical to sustaining life on the planet.  Many identified KBAs are also located in high-carbon ecosystems, ensuring that the initiatives will provide both biodiversity and climate benefits.

“We’re proud that BirdLife is among the recipients in this round of Bezos Earth Fund grants, which is squarely focused on conserving land and sea, restoring degraded land, and advancing climate justice,” said Patricia Zurita, BirdLife’s CEO.

The Bezos Earth Fund also announced support  for “Conserva Aves” (Conserve Birds), an innovative coalition between BirdLife International and its American partners National Audubon Society and the American Bird Conservancy as well as RedLAC, a network of 27 environmental funds in Latin America and the Caribbean.  This initiative will establish and strengthen 30-40 new protected sites (450-600,000 hectares, or 1.11 to 1.48 million acres) critical for threatened and migratory bird species in the Tropical Andes by 2027.

Launched in 2020, the Bezos Earth Fund is a $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs and private-sector entities that are taking critical action to combat the climate crisis, pre-serve and protect the natural world and support climate justice.

BirdLife International is the largest international partnership for nature conservation. Its 117-member global family of partners, rooted in local communities, covers all continents, landscapes and seascapes. The world’s leading authority on birds, BirdLife’s singular science on birds’ conservation status offers unique and advanced insights into the planet’s twin crises of biodiversity and climate.