Philanthropies pledge billions during UN meeting
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced plans Thursday to spend more than $900 million over the next five years to curb global malnutrition, a move to stem the rise in world hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic. It's one of several pledges private donors made this week as world leaders gather in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly.
On Wednesday, a coalition of nine foundations said they would collectively spend $5 billion by 2030 to protect at least 30% of the planet's land and sea, known as 30x30. The pledge from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Washington D.C.-based Wyss Foundation and others is believed to be the largest private pledge to protect biodiversity.
One of the donors, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, had already announced on Monday his Bezos Earth Fund would earmark $1 billion to aid with conservation efforts. That commitment is part of the $10 billion Bezos pledged last year to fight climate change following years of criticism about Amazon’s carbon footprint. He stepped down from the company in July.
His charitable organization said it will focus its work on the Congo Basin, and the tropical parts of the Andes and Pacific Ocean.
Separately, the George Soros-funded Open Society Foundations said Monday it will spend an additional $30.5 million to improve access to COVID-19 vaccines in lower income countries.
Philanthropies choose to announce big initiatives during the General Assembly to get more attention on their commitments and influence the public agenda, experts say. “This is the time where you have a global audience, otherwise the audience is more fragmented by countries,” said Paloma Raggo, a professor at Canada’s Carleton University who focuses on global philanthropy.