Washington - At the Clinton Global Initiative in New York today, World Wildlife Fund affirmed its commitment to a program which conserves key portions of the Amazon, preventing hundreds of millions of tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere. The Amazon Region Protected Areas Program - known as ARPA - is the largest tropical forest conservation effort in history. It aims to safeguard the extraordinary biological diversity of the Amazon, reduce its extremely high rates of deforestation, and conserve its environmental and ecological services that provide benefits to millions of people.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) pledged to raise an additional $70 million toward the full $390 million required to meet the ten year goal to support ARPA, a path-breaking partnership that will support and maintain a system of parks, maintain vital natural systems, and reduce deforestation.
The Government of Brazil, the World Bank, the Governmental Environment Facility, the Government of Germany, and WWF - partners in the initiative - have raised over $85 million toward the $390 million total projected costs of the program. WWF has contributed over $15 million of the total raised to date, and with today's pledge further commits to raise an additional $70 million over the ten-year duration of the program.
Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund, announced WWF's commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative, reaffirming Brazil's Amazon Region Protected Areas Program as one of WWF's top priorities.
Using conservative estimates, WWF calculates that ARPA's impact on reducing deforestation will prevent 250 million tons of carbon from being released by the continued forest burning and clearing that would otherwise destroy the irreplaceable habitats now being protected. That equates to keeping approximately 120 million passenger cars off the road for an entire year.
ARPA will bring over 193,000 square miles of the Amazon's richest and most threatened habitats under effective management and permanent protection in a world-class system of parks and reserves surpassing the entire U.S. National Park System in size.
Through the ARPA program, now four years into its ten-year design, the Government of Brazil has set a new standard for delivering extraordinary conservation results ahead of schedule and has demonstrated real success in implementing a shared vision among diverse public and private partners, driving the creation of nearly 90,000 square miles of new protected areas under the ARPA initiative (an area larger than the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts combined), and more than doubling the area under protection and sustainable use since the program was launched.
Accompanying this tremendous expansion of parks and reserves, Brazil's ARPA initiative is empowering local communities and protected areas personnel who jointly face the challenges of making critical land-use decisions work on the ground. Moreover, it is helping to bring greater land tenure security to the Amazon and is one of the principal factors that show promise in achieving significant reductions in the rate of deforestation and land conflicts that have beset this region.
This vast area being conserved and effectively managed translates into significant global benefits, keeping enormous quantities of carbon safely stored in its intact forests and out of the atmosphere, and stabilizing climate patterns that provide critical rainfall for agriculture and energy needs well beyond the frontiers of the Amazon.