2020 Impact Report

Your investment in conservation is an investment in keeping the world safe, resilient and healthy

© Cristina Mittermeier/sealegacy


From stopping climate change to preventing pandemics, nature is our most powerful ally. As you read ahead, know that you are a part of every one of these accomplishments.

Thank you for standing with us.


Our Impact

metric tons
We secured over 920 million metric tons of irrecoverable carbon, with over 253 million metric tons coming from newly conserved areas.
More than 5.9 million people are benefiting from nature as a result of our conservation actions.
threatened species
Our implementation sites conserve habitat that is home to more than 1,700 threatened species.



Protecting nature to stabilize our climate

Your support conserves forests that absorb and store critical carbon, building resilience to climate change impacts.


© Conservation International/ photo by Fasdo Azofeifa

Identifying Ecosystems with “Irrecoverable Carbon”

Conservation International scientists led a groundbreaking global study establishing that specific terrestrial ecosystems contain "irrecoverable carbon." Published in Nature Climate Change, the report identifies vast carbon stores that, if lost, cannot be recovered in our lifetime.

Advancing Climate Policies

Along with partners, Conservation International is supporting countries to include nature-based solutions in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to address climate change. The NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and determine how each country will take responsibility for helping to curb climate change.

Protecting Coastal Communities

With Bechtel Engineering, Conservation International completed a pilot project in the Philippine city of Concepcion, devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in 2015. Combining natural "green" ecosystems with conventional "gray" engineering approaches can generate more benefits and climate resilience for people and nature than either strategy applied alone. The French Facility for Global Environment generously supported this work.


Ocean conservation on an unprecedented scale

Your investment in Conservation International will double the world’s ocean area under protection while innovating sustainable marine fisheries.


© Paul Nicklen

Launching the Blue Nature Alliance: Key to Doubling the Amount of Protected Ocean

To protect the largest ecosystem on Earth, the ocean, we developed the Blue Nature Alliance with our partners at the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation, the Minderoo Foundation and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). With a total goal of 18 million square kilometers of effectively managed and protected ocean by 2025, we are proud of our strong start.

Surfing to protect our oceans

Launched last year, this innovative partnership between Conservation International and Save The Waves Coalition is harnessing the surfing community’s passion for the ocean and conservation. By the end of 2025, the partnership will conserve over 10,000 square kilometers of the world’s most intact coral reefs, mangroves, coastlines and coastal forests surrounding high-quality surfing sites.

Advocating for human rights in fisheries

Conservation International called attention to human rights abuses taking place at sea and in the processing of seafood around the world. We launched a think tank with the U.N.’s International Labor Organization, the Global Slavery Index and Global Fishing Watch to research overfishing, human rights abuses and pathways to ending illegality in global fisheries. We also led the development of the Monterey Framework for Socially Responsible Seafood, a protocol that now has over two dozen commitments from major seafood businesses.


Protecting places for people and nature

Because of you Conservation International is piloting self-sustaining, conservation based economies in the most important ecosystems for people and nature.


© © Victory Farms

Moving toward sustainable palm oil in Liberia

Palm oil production is a boon for developing countries; producing it sustainably and preventing deforestation is our goal. Conservation International facilitated the launch of Liberia’s National Oil Palm Steering Committee to unlock the potential of growing sustainable palm oil. This will scale Conservation International's work in Liberia where we have supported the sustainable production of palm oil on more than 310,000 hectares.

Orphan elephants rewilded

In November 2019 and again in May 2020, orphaned elephants were reintroduced to the wild from the community-managed Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in northern Kenya. Since launching in 2017, ten calves have now graduated from the Reteti Sanctuary and returned to the wild, proving the Conservation International sponsored Reteti model's success for rehabilitating orphaned elephants in Africa.

Feeding a new nation: Protecting marine areas in Timor-Leste

With Conservation International’s support, the 12 marine protected areas of Timor-Leste’s Atauro Island were united into this new country’s first protected area network. In a region with the highest number of reef fish species in the world, Atauro’s local communities created the 1,308-hectare network — a powerful reflection of the citizens’ respect for nature and aspirations for nature-based development.

Suriname passes its first comprehensive environmental legislation

With 93% of Suriname’s land cover being intact forest, their parliament passed a landmark Environmental Protection Law. In an eight-year effort, Conservation International supported the government to pass the law, which mandates development projects to achieve zero net loss of biodiversity. The legislation also demands the use of Free Prior and Informed Consent for Indigenous and tribal communities, a Conservation International standard, and mandatory environmental impact assessments for all activities.


Innovations in science

© Will Burrard-Lucas / WWF-US

Technology to protect wildlife

Camera-trap images are the backbone of much wildlife research. Wildlife Insights, our breakthrough image-sharing, AI-driven platform, has quickly mushroomed into one of the world’s largest “big data” frameworks, currently hosting and sharing 4.5 million images. Wildlife Insights was developed by Conservation International and our partners — including Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund, Yale University, Zoological Society of London, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Smithsonian Institution and Google.


Read the full report

Despite the tremendous challenges, Conservation International continued to deliver transformative change in 2020 — demonstrating that human lives are improved when we protect nature.

Download PDF (5MB)


Thank you

Conservation International demonstrated this year that human lives are improved when we protect nature. Please join us again.