Program will protect ocean ecosystems and benefit Brazil’s 43 million coastal inhabitants
WB/GEF: Brazil to triple Marine Protection Areas
WASHINGTON, September 19, 2014 – A pioneer initiative will more than triple the ocean area under environmental protection in Brazil, from 5.5 million hectares to over 17.5 million, an area larger than Greece.
Approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors, the US$ 18.2 million Marine Protected Areas Project will benefit the 43 million people who live in Brazil’s 514 thousand km2 coast area. Financed by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), the project will bring far-reaching social and economic benefits, protecting the capacity of coastal ecosystems to produce food, maintain good water quality, and increasing their resilience to and recovery from degradation. It will also increase the wellbeing and opportunities for traditional local communities that directly depend on fishing activities for subsistence
“The coastal zone is currently one of the most environmentally threatened regions in Brazil,” said Izabella Teixeira, Brazil’s Minister of Environment. “The creation of conservation areas is fundamental to protect the ocean’s biodiversity and to maintain fisheries activities that currently represent some 800,000 jobs in the Country.”
The Brazilian coastal zone hosts an immense variety of environments and wildlife: from the longest continuous stretches of mangrove ecosystems in the world, to the only coral reefs existing in South America. All of them intensely submitted to human and economic pressure.
Currently, only 1.57 percent of Brazil’s seaboard territory is under the Marine and Coastal Protection Areas Network (MCPA), instituted by the Federal Government in 2000. For the first time, an initiative will take place not only to expand the existing MCPA, but also to promote its long term financial sustainability by developing innovative financing mechanisms.
“The World Bank is already a partner of Brazil in the implementation of conservation areas in the Amazon Region, with very successful results,” said Deborah L. Wetzel, World Bank Director for Brazil. “We have no doubts that this new project will follow the same path, not only preserving this rich environment, but also providing new development opportunities for the local communities that depend on it.” (TBC)
The main objectives of the project are:
- Creation and consolidation of at least 120,000 km2 of new protection areas for biodiversity protection, including 9,300 km2 of enhanced biodiversity protection areas.
- Establishment of at least two financial mechanisms to support the long term sustainability of the Marine and Coastal Protection Area Network
On the GEF and the World Bank
The Global Environment Facility is a partnership for international cooperation where 183 countries work together with international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector, to address global environmental issues. The GEF serves as financial mechanism for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Minamata Convention on Mercury. It also works closely with the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances
Since 1991, the GEF has provided $12.5 billion in grants and leveraged $58 billion in co-financing for 3,690 projects in 165 developing countries. For 23 years, developed and developing countries alike have provided these funds to support activities related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, and chemicals and waste in the context of development projects and programs. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP) the GEF has made more than 20,000 grants to civil society and community based organizations for a total of $1 billion.