WASHINGTON - World Wildlife Fund today contributed U.S. $3.3 million dollars to secure long-term financial sustainability for the vast system of parks and sustainable use areas now being established in the Amazon by Brazil. Today's contribution by WWF will be matched by the Global Environment Facility, resulting in a total contribution of $6.6 million dollars. World Wildlife Fund also announced its intent to raise an additional $6.7 million dollars by June 2007 to further protect these vital areas in perpetuity.
"As our contribution today demonstrates, World Wildlife Fund supports Brazil's commitment to change destructive deforestation practices and protect the world's largest tropical rainforest," said Kathryn Fuller, president and CEO, World Wildlife Fund. "A healthy Amazon is a wise investment in our future. As home to millions of species, its wilderness is a source of medicines, contains a fifth of the world's freshwater, is key to the livelihoods and cultural survival of many indigenous peoples, and is a force in shaping continental rainfall and climatic patterns."
The new protected area in the Amazon announced today by Brazilian President Lula da Silva and WWF's contribution are the latest installment toward achieving the vision of the Amazon Regional Protected Areas initiative-a 190,000 square-mile network of protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon one and a half times larger than the entire U.S. National Parks system. Including today's new designation, approximately 62,000 square miles of new protected areas-larger than Michigan-have been established under the initiative, including the 15,000 square-mile Tumucumaque Mountains National Park. Additional areas have been mapped and are undergoing scientific evaluation for inclusion in the network of protected areas.
"Troubling deforestation persists in the Amazon as the Brazilian government announced earlier this week that 10,088 square miles were destroyed in 2004," said Denise Hamú, CEO, WWF-Brazil. "But this broad-based Amazon initiative with strong and committed partners shows that effective solutions can be found and implemented."
One of the largest and most ambitious conservation projects ever undertaken, this unique collaborative effort aims to bring 12 percent of the Brazilian Amazon under protection over a ten year period and establish an estimated $240 million endowment fund to finance the effective management of these protected areas in perpetuity by a partnership among the Government of Brazil, the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund, the German Development Bank (KfW), the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank and WWF.
WWF played a key role in spearheading the joint Amazon initiative from the start through a global alliance for forest conservation with the World Bank. WWF and the World Bank are committed to reducing the level of deforestation worldwide by 10 percent by 2010 and continuing to support innovative projects like this Amazon initiative.