MLTalks: Margarita Mora

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MIT Media Lab / Jimmy Day

Conservation agreements: everybody wins or everybody loses.

Just 25 percent of the land surface of the planet contains up to 80 percent of its biodiversity. As the Executive Director of Conservation International's Conservation Stewards Program (CSP), Margarita Mora works with communities worldwide to safeguard these plants and animals and protect the natural resources that sustain them. The conservation agreements at the core of this program provide concrete, economic benefits to rural farmers and local communities who may previously have felt that they had few options for using their land, water, and other resources in sustainable ways. Since 2005, CSP has protected 1.5 million hectares of key habitat (an area larger than Los Angeles County or the state of Connecticut), and benefited 35,000 people. 

Biography: Margarita Mora runs the Conservation Stewards Program at Conservation International, which pioneered the conservation agreements model. From working with communities in northwest Ecuador to supporting conservation agreement initiatives in 19 countries around the globe, Margarita has dedicated the last 15 years to figuring out how to make conservation a viable alternative for communities. She is a Conservation Fellow at the Mulago Foundation and a Heinrich Böll Stiftung alumna.

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