The following statement was released today by WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper upon the announcement of the new groundbreaking “Protecting Our Planet Challenge” and its $5 billion commitment toward protecting and conserving 30 percent of the planet by 2030:

Said Samper:

“The news today of the launch of the Protecting Our Planet Challenge and the commitment of its founding members to invest $5 billion toward biodiversity conservation will have significant impact addressing the world’s climate crisis, extinction crisis and the possibility of future zoonotic pandemics. All nine organizations behind this launch should be commended for their vision and boldness to achieve the conservation and preservation of at least 30 percent of the planet by 2030.

“WCS has worked on protected areas for more than a century, and we know it is one of the most effective strategies to protect wildlife and wild places. But we need to increase and expand them, making sure they are in the right places, and managed effectively.

“The next decade will be critical and we need to expand protected areas to cover 30% of the planet, using new tools like other effective area-based conservation measures, working closely with Indigenous Peoples and local communities as guardians.

“The founding organizations of Protecting Our Planet — Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin; Bezos Earth Fund; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Nia Tero; Rainforest Trust; Re:wild; Wyss Foundation; and the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation – are to be commended in their united effort to strengthen and expand protected areas across the globe while advancing the rights and guardianship of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

“At WCS, we work in nearly 60 countries and we know that science clearly confirms that the 30×30 strategy is a winning nature-based solution for nature and humanity. We look forward to working with all the Protecting Our Planet Challenge organizations and joining them in their efforts toward ‘a more equitable, carbon neutral and nature positive future’ for all life on Earth.”