Black lechwe in Bangweulu Wetlands National Park, Zambia

Natural heritage fund The Legacy Landscapes Fund – conserving biological diversity for humankind

Logo: Legacy Landscapes Fund
Logo: Legacy Landscapes Fund

In recent decades, the loss of species and habitats has accelerated dramatically. Three quarters of the most biodiverse regions in the world are in developing countries and emerging economies. Many countries lack the financial resources to fund the protection of these areas. The Legacy Landscapes (External link) Fund (LLF) seeks to address this challenge. It provides long-term core funding for selected protected areas, thus contributing to the lasting conservation of particularly important ecosystems.

Every year, each protected area selected for support under the LLF receives one million US dollars for a minimum of 15 or 30 years, with the ambition to make this “everlasting” funding. This provides much-needed predictability for the protected areas, enabling them to continue to operate even in times of crisis or when revenues from tourism dwindle. In its work, the LLF engages with indigenous people and local communities from the beginning, facilitating their participation, and it takes care to ensure compliance with human rights standards.

The Fund is characterised by two special features: long-term funding for ecologically particularly valuable areas far beyond normal project cycles, and the combination of public and private funding.

Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development
Through the Legacy Landscapes Fund, we support top biodiversity hotspots worldwide. Protected areas in developing countries need reliable long-term financing and administration in order to protect the natural environment and the global climate but also in order to protect people's livelihoods on the ground.
Svenja Schulze Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development
Kanuku Mountains protected area, Guyana

Recording Press conference on the Legacy Landscapes Fund (LLF), 17 May 2022 (in German)

Minister Svenja Schulze presents Germany's future support for the Legacy Landscapes Fund.

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The purpose of the Fund is to ensure long-term financing for the protection of 30 particularly biodiverse areas in developing countries in order to help stop the global loss of biodiversity. Ecosystems must be intact in order to provide their important services and facilitate local development. In order to support this, the Fund will build a capital stock of about one billion US dollars by 2030 in order to secure long-term core funding for the protected areas.

So far, Germany has committed a total of 182.5 million euros for the LLF (as at January 2023) and is planning to provide another 30 million euros in 2023 (pending budgetary procedures and parliamentary approval).

In every protected area, one third of the costs is covered by private partners. The Legacy Landscapes Fund is an independent foundation that pools public and private funding. Contributors include – besides the BMZ – France, Norway, private foundations, enterprises, and international nature conservation organisations. The Fund also receives support from many other partners, for example the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The LLF was founded in December 2020 and began to operate in spring 2021.

It is functioning already and is making a difference on the ground. Long-term financing is already being provided for seven protected areas. Together, they comprise some 73,000 square kilometres, an area larger than the combined territories of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Background information

Human interventions in nature have dramatically increased the pace at which biological diversity is being lost.

  • 75 per cent of terrestrial ecosystems and 40 per cent of marine ecosystems have already been changed by human intervention.
  • Each year ten million hectares of forest is lost – an area the size of a soccer field every four seconds.
  • Every day up to 150 plant and animal species disappear from the Earth.
  • 50 per cent of all coral reefs have already been destroyed.

In order to put a lasting stop to the loss of biodiversity, at least 30 per cent of the Earth's surface would need to be placed under protection, while actively involving indigenous peoples and local communities and respecting their rights.

Effectively managed protected areas are regarded as an important instrument for conserving biodiversity. They also contribute to climate change mitigation and to reducing the risk of zoonoses.

Sustainably managed protected areas play a key role for conserving biodiversity.

However, a mere 19 per cent of annual global funding for protected areas is spent in developing countries, although that is where the most biodiversity hotspots are to be found.

A study covering 282 protected areas in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, found that 90 per cent of them were significantly underfunded.

Crises like the COVID-19 pandemic with economic consequences such as tourists staying away only exacerbate the financial need of the national parks. In Uganda, for example, 90 per cent of the revenue of conservation authorities comes from fees paid by tourists.

How does the Fund work?

How is the LLF funded?

Financing of the Legacy Landscapes Fund
Financing of the Legacy Landscapes Fund

The Legacy Landscapes Fund is an independent foundation under German law. It combines public and private contributions. The contributions make up the foundation's capital.

In order to provide long-term core financing for 30 protected areas, the Fund plans to build a capital stock of about 1 billion US dollars by 2030.

Protected areas supported by the Legacy Landscapes Fund

Map of pilot projects and potential future projects under the Legacy Landscapes Fund (green = sites already supported by the LLF; blue = candidate sites)

Map of pilot projects and potential future projects under the Legacy Landscapes Fund (green = sites already supported by the LLF; blue = candidate sites)

Map of pilot projects and potential future projects under the Legacy Landscapes Fund (green = sites already supported by the LLF; blue = candidate sites)

At present (January 2023), the Legacy Landscapes Fund supports seven protected areas: Madidi National Park in Bolivia, Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of the Congo, Iona National Park in Angola, North Luangwa National Park in Zambia, Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, Central Cardamom Mountains National Park in Cambodia, and Gunung Leuser National Park in Indonesia.

For another seven parks that have applied for support, proposals are currently (January 2023) under review: Chiribiquete National Park in Colombia, Yasuní National Park in Ecuador, Manú/Purus National Park in Peru, Tumucumaque National Park in Brazil, Etosha National Park in Namibia, Makira-Masoala protected area in Madagascar, and Tambrauw Mountains Nature Reserve in Indonesia.

More information can be found here (External link).

River in the Madidi National Park, Bolivia

Bolivia Madidi National Park

Elephant in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo

Republic of Congo Odzala-Kokoua National Park

The Welwitschia mirabilis plant only grows in the Namib Desert of Namibia and in southern Angola.

Angola Iona National Park

Malachite nectar bird
Antelope in the Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Gonarezhou National Park

Central Cardamom Mountains National Park in Cambodia

Cambodia Central Cardamom Mountains National Park

Orang Utan in the Gunung Leuser National Park

Indonesia Gunung Leuser National Park

Kaieteur-Wasserfälle in Guyana

Press release 17 May 2022 German Development Minister Schulze commits 100 million euros for the world's most valuable protected areas Internal link

Development Minister Svenja Schulze committed another 100 million euros for the Legacy Landscapes Fund. With this support, Germany is making a key contribution to the conservation of vital ecosystems in developing countries.

German support for biodiversity conservation

Zebras and wildebeest in the Serengeti in Tanzania

Germany, one of the biggest donors in this field, is providing more than 500 million euros a year for biodiversity conservation in developing countries, with more than 400 million euros coming from the budget of the Development Ministry (BMZ).

With this funding, the German Development Ministry is supporting 668 protected areas with a total area of more than two million square kilometres. That adds up to more than six times the surface area of Germany.


Women rangers in Namibia's Khaudum National Park, part of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area

Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area

One of the world's largest nature conservation areas has been created in Southern Africa. The BMZ is providing over 35 million euros to support the development of this protected area.

Oceanic whitetip shark

Blue Action Fund

As early as in 2016, the BMZ founded one of the world's largest funds to support marine protected areas, the Blue Action Fund.

As at: 26/01/2023