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Brazil's Environment Minister Commits to New Protected Areas in the Amazon

Bonn, Germany, May 30, 2008 – Brazil's Environment Minister, Carlos Minc, has confirmed the imminent creation of four new protected areas, three of them in the Brazilian Amazon, totaling 2.3 million hectares. The announcement of the creation of these areas will be made on June 5th, World Environment Day. Minc announced this commitment yesterday at the Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn, Germany, where, together with Environmental Ministers of 60 countries, he also signed onto a WWF campaign of zero net deforestation by 2020.

"I insisted on coming to Bonn to announce the good news and restate our commitment to the Amazon Region Protected Areas program [ARPA]. We are now launching its second phase and raising the total goal for areas protected and supported by ARPA from 50 million to 60 million hectares,” said Minc.

The Amazon Region Protected Areas program (ARPA),the world´s largest tropical forest conservation program, is a major conservation initiative of the Brazilian Government, and is supported by the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the German Development Bank (KfW), the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO) and WWF.

The program’s second phase will be implemented over a four-year period (2009-2012), when 20 million hectares of new protected areas are expected to be created. Additional goals for the second phase are the consolidation of protected areas created during the first phase and the implementation of complementary financing mechanisms, including a Trust Fund that will cover recurring expenses of the protected areas in perpetuity.

"ARPA has been a major conservation success story and remains core to WWF's overall strategy and vision for the Amazon,” said Meg Symington, Managing Director for the Amazon at WWF-US.

WWF has announced a new commitment to ARPA and intends to raise $25 million for the program during the next phase. WWF has committed $17 million for the first phase of ARPA, which began implementation in early 2003 and ends in December 2008.