The Brazilian government, WWF and partners have committed $215 million for the protection of a vital part of the Amazon rainforest following an agreement signed today.
The move will guarantee funds over the next two decades to ensure long-term protection of the world's largest network of protected areas, 60 million hectares of the Amazon rainforest.
The funding is part of a program called the Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA), which aims to permanently protect 15 per cent of the Amazon, an area equivalent to the size of Spain.
“This funding commitment is part of a huge conservation effort for government, partners and donors. It is a new phase that includes the implementation of bolder financial mechanisms for maintaining protected areas,” said Maria Cecilia Wey de Brito, CEO of WWF-Brazil, one of the partners in the initiative.
The agreement guarantees funds for the next 25 years, after which the Brazilian government will assume the full cost of protecting these Amazon landscapes.
The new funding commitment is a result of “ARPA for Life – Commitment to the Amazon”, the latest phase of the ARPA program launched in 2012 during the Rio+20 UN conference on sustainability.
WWF-Brazil worked closely with WWF-US in the negotiations and fundraising required to ensure the success of the project.
“The explosion in demand for natural resources has made our parks and World Heritage Sites vulnerable,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US. “So we convened leading financial thinkers and philanthropic partners to create a plan for a first-of-its-kind bridge fund to ensure ARPA’s inspiring success story can be told forever.”
Created in 2002, ARPA is coordinated by Brazilian Ministry of Environment and is considered the single largest tropical forest conservation program in history.
The program is a joint effort by Brazil’s federal government, Amazonian state agencies, private institutions and civil society to promote the conservation and permanent protection of the Brazilian Amazon through the creation, expansion and strengthening of protected areas management.
Currently, the program supports 95 distinct protected areas, corresponding to 52 million hectares.