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GEF Grant to Help Brazil Protect an additional 13.5 Million Hectares in the Amazon

February 23, 2012


Protected area will also benefit local population through job creation

WASHINGTON, February 23, 2012 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a US$ 15.9 million Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant for the Second Phase of the Amazon Region Protected Area Program (ARPA), to be implemented by the Government of Brazil and the World Bank. Thirteen and a half million hectares of additional new protected areas (an area larger than Greece) will be created in the next four years. The grant will also help consolidate 32 million hectares of existing areas.

The Amazon Region Protected Area Program is the world’s biggest rainforest conservation initiative and its investments are mainly focused on creating and consolidating Conservation Units. More than directly impacting on the biome conservation, this program promotes the creation of new jobs and generates income through the sustainable use of biodiversity resources, encouraging, for example, sustainable use of the forest and the development of community based tourism,” said Brazil’s Environment Minister, Izabella Teixeira.

With an area of 4.1 million km2, the Brazilian Amazon is the largest continuous rainforest in the world, providing essential global environmental benefits, specifically in terms of biodiversity, carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation. It is also home to 24 million people, who have lower than average income and live in less urbanized conditions than the rest of the country.

The first phase of the project was extremely successful, and resulted in the creation of 24 million hectares of new protected areas. This second phase will be essential to achieve the future goal of 100 million hectares under protection, at the same time promoting economic growth and social services through the sustainable use of resources”, explained Makhtar Diop, World Bank Director for Brazil.

Due to Brazil’s clean energy matrix, carbon emissions from land use change and deforestation represent 45 percent of the country’s total annual emissions. Multiple strategies have been implemented to counter the destruction of the forest and the establishment of protected areas has proved to be a very efficient one.

During its first phase, the ARPA Program created 24 million hectares of protected areas and consolidated 8.5 million hectares. It is estimated that the recent expansion of protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon reduced the region’s deforestation by 37 percent between 2004 and 2006.

This second phase will maintain the initial structure of the project, divided in four different components:

  • creation of 13.5 million hectares of new protected areas in a four year period, including parks, biological reserves, ecological stations, extractive reserves and sustainable development centers;
  • maintenance of the existing protected areas, formalizing their management and guaranteeing conservation for the future;
  • ensuring the long term sustainability of the protected areas, by increasing the capitalization of ARPA’s endowment fund by US$ 49 million; and investment in coordination, monitoring and management of the protected areas.

A recent study by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that 13 protected areas created under ARPA from 2003 to 2007 will contribute to offset greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 430 million tons of carbon by 2050.

On the GEF and the World Bank

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is an international agency created after the Rio Summit in 1992, for the provision of grants and concessional funding to achieve global environmental benefits in six focal areas - climate change; biological diversity; international waters; persistent organic pollutants; land degradation; and ozone layer depletion. GEF also supports the work of the global agreements to combat desertification.

The World Bank is one of GEF’s implementing agencies and supports countries in preparing GEF co-financed projects and supervising their implementation. The Bank plays the primary role in ensuring the development and management of investment projects. The Bank draws upon its investment experience in eligible countries to promote investment opportunities and to mobilize private sector, bilateral, multilateral, and other government and non-government sector resources that are consistent with GEF objectives and national sustainable development strategies.

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