The World Bank's work toward protecting biodiversity includes establishing and expanding protected area systems, such as the Amazon Region Protected Areas program (ARPA) in Brazil. The program has helped protect around 70 million hectares of rainforest. A study by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences credits ARPA with a 37%% decrease in deforestation between 2004 and 2009. The Bank is also applying the lessons learned from this experience into a new project in Brazil that aims to triple the marine area under protection while directly benefiting 800,000 people.
Co-management of biodiverse areas is important for wildlife conservation. The Kenya Wildlife Conservation Leasing Demonstration Project, for example, has been successful in helping to ensure the long-term ecological viability of Nairobi National Park by providing wildlife access to adjacent areas. Nearly 400 households with some 22,000 hectares of land signed up to receive rent for not fencing off their land and allowing wildlife to roam. The Acre Social and Economic Inclusion and Sustainable Development project has helped the state government engage communities in expanding sustainable forest management practices. Better land use planning has enabled the protection of forests and natural habitats. Real GDP has increased by over 44 % and deforestation rates have declined by 70%.
Ensuring biodiversity considerations are factored into World Bank infrastructure projects is another key area of work. For example, in Honduras, a Rural Roads Project included the establishment of a 2,000 ha protected area for the Honduran Emerald, an endemic hummingbird that was being threatened by the paving and widening of a road. In Laos, the Nam Theun II hydroelectricity project led to the establishment of a major new national protected area along the watershed of the Nakai River.
The World Bank Group works closely with partners on issues including tiger habitat, wildlife crime, forest governance, and the oceans. The Bank's investments to protect the oceans include a US$4.9 million grant with GEF to Namibia to help establish a strong platform for governance of the coastal land and seascape and for development of a National Policy on Coastal Management, which was approved in 2012.
The Bank also makes investments that support the long-term viability of biodiverse areas, and helps establish institutions that safeguard natural capital. In South Africa’s Greater Addo Elephant National Park, a US$5.5 million investment spurred US$14.5 million in private sector investment and the creation of 614 jobs. The Coastal & Biodiversity Management Project in Guinea-Bissau helped establish the autonomous Institute for Biodiversity and Protected Areas (IBAP), to manage the country’s network of protected areas and endangered species. The project helped conserve 480,000 hectares of its coastal zone (13 % of the territory), together with local communities. These protected areas are considered national assets and are intended to form the backbone of a future tourism industry.
Last Updated: Apr 02,2015