Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin – has strengthened its long-running partnership with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) with a new multi million dollar grant that will help to underpin the charity’s operations and its critical work to save threatened species and habitats from extinction.

On hearing the news, Sir David Attenborough – vice-president of FFI and a member for over 60 years – sent out his message of thanks. “I have witnessed the invaluable support offered to FFI through Lisbet and Peter’s Foundation, and have seen the effective way that FFI then uses this funding to make a difference in the areas in which it works. For example, these funds have enabled FFI to protect areas as diverse as the flower rich meadows of Transylvania, Romania and the astounding natural wonders of the waters around Aceh in Indonesia.”

A brighter future

The US$27 million investment by this charitable fund will enable FFI to take bold steps forward in securing some of the world’s most important sites and species, both on land and in the ocean.

A shared vision

This new grant is just the latest chapter in the relationship between FFI and Arcadia, which began in 1998 when Mark Rose, FFI’s Chief Executive, met with Dr Lisbet Rausing to discuss their mutual interest in scaling up conservation efforts to protect entire ecosystems.

From that meeting, Halcyon Land & Sea was born – a shared vision between Arcadia and FFI (later joined by Hugh Sloane) that has enabled FFI to influence the conservation of some 55.8 million hectares of critical habitat in the almost 20 years since its establishment, including many areas that were in imminent danger of destruction.

One aspect of this initiative that has been crucial to its success is the recognition that long-term conservation is best managed locally. FFI supports local partners in the countries in which it works to help them manage key sites for conservation in perpetuity, and works with those partners to ensure that they have the support they need to be effective.

Looking back at the early days of the partnership, Mark Rose said, “From its inception, this partnership has proved beyond doubt the value of conserving land of high biodiversity value, through long term sustainable management. We are delighted that this is going to continue with a significantly increased level of investment.”

Diving in

In 2011, recognising that the world’s seas and oceans were in real trouble, Arcadia supported FFI to develop an ambitious new marine conservation programme, and followed this with five years of substantial funding to build on the successes seen during the initial pilot phase.

In April 2015, Arcadia announced that it would be commissioning an external review of the work it had funded through FFI to better understand the impact and effectiveness of its investments. What followed was an intensive and thorough review of FFI’s Arcadia-funded projects by a team of independent evaluators, with the findings condensed into a 75-page report.

Arcadia, said “After working with FFI for so long, we wanted to see whether the investment was a sound one. It was.”

In her blog post describing the review process, FFI’s Dr Abigail Entwistle said, “FFI has grown and flourished over the last two decades, and Arcadia’s long-term support has been vital to our success. Conservation takes time to realise results, in the region of 10-20 years compared with typical donor cycles of 3-5 years.

“The long-term partnership behind Halcyon Land & Sea has enabled us to persevere with projects and sites, however tricky, until they reach their full potential as well as investing in, and empowering, local organisations to manage these sites into the future. In addition, the flexibility built into Halcyon Land & Sea funding has allowed us to adapt, experiment and learn; this freedom to take risks has driven innovation.”