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Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Jeff Bezos' climate philanthropy on Monday pledged $1 billion for conservation and biodiversity, with the first grants beginning later this year focused on the Congo Basin, the Andes region and the Pacific Ocean.

Driving the news: The money will be used to "create, expand, manage, and monitor protected and conserved areas," according to the announcement.

"This commitment to conservation will focus on areas that are important for biodiversity and carbon stocks and will give emphasis to the central role of local communities and Indigenous peoples in conservation efforts," the announcement states.

Why it matters: The Bezos Earth Fund, which was first unveiled early last year, has quickly become a very large presence in climate giving. Bezos plans to allocate $10 billion by 2030.

  • Today's pledge represents a significantly expanded focus on nature and conservation, though some prior funding went to conservation-focused groups.
  • The $1 billion for conservation is the first part of a three-part nature strategy, the fund's announcement states, with subsequent commitments aimed at landscape restoration and "food system transformation."

Catch up fast: Monday's announcement is the third move from the fund staked by Bezos, the founder of Amazon who is among the world's richest people.

  • Last November the fund announced $791 million in grants across 16 groups, including $100 million apiece for a handful of large groups like the Environmental Defense Fund, World Resources Institute and the Nature Conservancy.
  • Earlier this month it pledged another $204 million, including nearly $74 million in immediate disbursements, to various organizations — including a number focused on "climate justice" and helping grassroots advocacy.

Go deeper

Facing existential threat from climate change, Pacific Islanders urge world to listen

Climate organizer Moñeka De Oro (left), Guam Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio and Micronesia Climate Change Alliance. Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Courtesy of MCCA and the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability

Decades after Pacific Islanders first raised the alarm, the rest of the world is finally catching up: The climate crisis is here, and it's accelerating.

Why it matters: Pacific Islanders, whose nations face an existential threat from climate change, were a major force behind the Paris Agreement. Heading into November's UN climate summit, they are calling for greater urgency in meeting the goals of the accord, and more direct action from world leaders — especially President Biden.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" when the gang abducted them in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

Venezuela suspends talks with opposition after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro. Security forces placed six U.S. oil executives under house arrest later Saturday, per AP.

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