In 2002 we kick started Gondwana Link, on the basis that private funding could provide the leadership and the catalytic actions for transformative change. Well it’s now 2021, and not only are we still going and growing, but so is the private conservation sector. Our view that south-western Australia is a globally significant opportunity to achieve transformative change over large landscapes is shared by a number of significant local, national and international organisations, private funders and impact investors.
An approach by the Global Evergreening Alliance, to assist in development of their Restore Australia program, proved to be a wonderful opportunity to take a broader look at how we can work better and more ambitiously with the farming community, and assist in their efforts to also achieve change at scale. During 2020 we broadened our network and developed a cohesive program covering both the core Gondwana Link area and the broader wheatbelt regions, with regenerative agriculture a key part of the repertoire.
Relationships already forged in cooperation and trust were drawn upon to establish a core working group with the WA Landcare Network and RegenWA Steering Committee, who have good linkages into programs and communities in the wheatbelt areas.
Our colleagues in Greening Australia were already developing a larger program across all of southern Australia, focused on revegetation, so the intention is for the Gondwana Link and Greening components to complement each other across south-western Australia.
Greening is already contracted to proceed with key elements of their program and our program is ready to fly. There has been some delay, and a bit of turmoil in Europe following COVID is apparently why our contracts are not yet signed, but we remain hopeful the ‘GO’ button is not far away.
Regardless, we see this as the beginning of a growing ‘next wave’ of private funding, with some clever and good hearted investors being the main players. Encouraging conversations are underway with additional large funders looking to operate ecologically beneficial farms and undertake large scale restoration.
2021 looks like being another wild ride, with outcomes we can all be proud of.