Enduring Earth: Protecting 30% of the Earth’s land and water by 2030 is an ambitious goal, and it’s going to take teamwork to get there

Turning this new collaboration into reality has required overcoming some longstanding differences between conservation organizations like TNC and WWF. “For 70-plus years, these organizations have been taught to compete, not to collaborate,” says Parrish. “This took a level of personal trust.”

“These partnerships rise and fall on the basis of relationships—and require a lot of direct, honest conversations,” says Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund in the United States. And, he adds, even as the individual partner organizations have joined together, they recognize the importance of maintaining the latitude to be able to challenge each other, for the sake of making the broader partnership even stronger.

The program’s success will also depend on getting national governments—many of which are racing to meet the 2030 pledges they are making under international climate and biodiversity agreements—to make durable, binding commitments to specific conservation programs within their own borders.

The Enduring Earth partners hope that bringing increased funding and their collective expertise to new conservation project areas can be the catalyst that helps governments quickly execute on their pledges to protect nature and address climate change.

“Sometimes these deals take years, so you wait for the stars to line up,” says Roberts, noting WWF’s involvement in negotiating protection for the Brazilian Amazon. “You look for openings in the world where you have a government that cares about these things—and is willing to make commitments that don’t just hold that particular administration accountable, but holds their successors accountable.”

Another critical component is the involvement of local communities in the creation of local economic development plans. Communities often depend on natural resources within potential protected areas, but activities like logging or fishing, when practiced unsustainably, can undermine the environmental integrity of such places. So supporting  these communities’ efforts as they develop better management practices can ensure long-term benefits for ecologically critical areas and the people who depend on the resources therein.

“Helping develop the resilience of their private economies is one of the biggest things you can do to help ensure the sustainability of the protection itself,” says Ben Walton, who co-founded ZOMALAB with his wife, Lucy Ana.

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