BERLIN / BRAZZAVILLE / LA PAZ -  The German Federal Development Ministry's Legacy Landscapes Fund appears to be linked to human rights abuses and toleration of environmental destruction. Conservation areas across Africa, Asia, and South America are allegedly subjected to community maltreatment and environmental misconduct.

Germany’s federal government has launched a prestigious project aimed at safeguarding nature reserves in Africa, Asia, and South America. However, our investigations suggest that partners involved in the initiative are involved in human rights violations against indigenous communities, and some appear complicit in allowing environmental degradation.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has pledged 182.5 million euros to the so-called Legacy Landscapes Fund, with a portion already invested. Besides the German government, France, Norway, and affluent private donors are also involved in the initiative. The funding is set to support thirty conservation areas globally.

“Germany plays a pivotal role in international biodiversity conservation,” remarked Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) during a press conference. Yet, indigenous communities in Bolivia and the Republic of Congo have raised serious concerns, levelling criticism against the fund, the German government, and its partners. The allegations extend to accusations of torture.

For this investigation, we analysed hundreds of pages of internal documents. Additionally, we traveled to rainforests in South America and Africa, engaging in discussions with affected communities, politicians, and experts to gain insights into the situation. “Germany should cease funding the park rangers,” said one of our interviewees.

Photo credit: The hunter Mingo Bernard demands an end to the support for park rangers in the Republic of the Congo. Tobias Dammers

Team members

Bastian Kaiser

Bastian Kaiser is a German freelance journalist and foreign reporter based in Colombia.

Tobias Dammers

Tobias Dammers is a freelance journalist and filmmaker from Germany.

Tobias Dammers Germany Ukraine
€17,750 allocated on 22/08/2022



  • Cosmo Livestream, WDR COSMO, 17/01/2024



  • Germany
  • Bolivia
  • Republic of Congo

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