The fund, which seeks to ensure conservation of over 90 protected
areas in the Amazon, comes as renewed developmental pressures mount
in the region, resulting last year in an uptick in deforestation
figures after years of record lows.
Under the terms of the agreement, partners in the fund will make
annual contributions to help Brazil meet financing needs for the
protected lands, whose combined area totals more than 60 million
hectares, or an area 20 percent larger than Spain.
Contributions, partners said, will be contingent upon conditions
required of Brazil, including audits of the government body that
will administer the fund and continued staffing and financing of
government offices required to administer the rainforest areas.
Money from the fund would be used for a range of basic conservation
measures, including fences and signs to delineate protected areas
and to pay for vehicles used to patrol them.
Through the agreement, “the government of Brazil is committing to
the budget and the regulations that are needed to secure future
financing for the Brazilian Amazon,” said Carter Roberts, chief
executive of the WWF, the non-governmental organization that helped
organize the fund, in an interview.
Officials at the Brazilian environment ministry, which said it would
make an announcement regarding financing for protected lands on
Wednesday, did not return calls seeking comment.
Brazil’s government through 2012 made large inroads against
deforestation, largely through strict environmental enforcement and
financial measures that blocked credit for companies and individuals
caught doing business with loggers, ranchers, farmers or others
known to exploit illegally cleared land.
In recent years, however, the government has made changes to
environmental agencies and regulations that critics say make it
easier for would-be developers to target protected areas. The
government has also altered borders of some parkland to make way for
infrastructure projects, including hydroelectric dams on various
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Financing for the new fund, expected to pay out over 25 years, was
secured from private and public sources including the German
government, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank,
philanthropists and the Amazon Fund, an existing facility financed
mostly by the Norwegian government and administered by Brazil's
national development bank.
Together, the forest zones targeted by the fund are known as the
Amazon Region Protected Areas, or ARPA, a program established in
2002 to coordinate financing and conservation strategy in the
Whereas previous financing for the effort relied on cumulative
fundraising efforts, partners this time agreed to an all-or-nothing
approach, borrowed from private-sector financing practices, to build
momentum toward a target total. The $215 million is the amount
calculated as necessary to help the Brazilian government, over the
25 years, become self-sufficient in terms of financing the
“The effort is really about understanding that it takes the
Brazilian government time to get there,” Roberts said. “This is
continuity and support over time to close the gap.”
(Reporting by Paulo Prada; editing by Andrew Hay)
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