In the Brazilian Amazon basin there are currently 42 conservation units (UC’s), encompassing approximately 30.5 million hectares of protected forest.
This information comes from the coordinator of the Amazonian Protected Areas Program (Arpa), Ronaldo Weigand, who is in Manaus for meetings with some of the teams that administer these areas.
The Arpa program integrates the activities under the supervision of the department of Protected Areas in the Ministry of Environment’s (MMA) Secretariat of Biodiversity.
The Arpa provides for the creation of a Protected Areas Fund (Fap) with an initial capital of US$ 240 million.
It will function as a permanently capitalized trust fund, a type of fund that receives donations and makes investments. The earnings will be used to support the maintenance of the Amazonian conservation units.
The MMA estimates that it costs US$ 200 thousand annually to maintain a UC in the Amazon. The Fap will be managed by the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (Funbio), a civil body which also comprises government representatives.
The US$ 240 million are to be collected by a Fund-Raising Committee created by the MMA.
Besides the Ministry itself, its members include the World Bank (IBRD), the official German cooperation bank (KfW), the Funbio, and the international environmental organization, World Wildlife Foundation (WWF-Brazil).
“Each one of these organizations has been seeking resources from the institutions with which it has the greatest affinity. Donations come from governments, corporations, associations, and individuals,” Weigand informed. US$ 1.5 million have been collected so far.
The overall goal of the Arpa, which is scheduled to operate for 10 years, is to attain a total protected area of 50 million hectares in the Amazon basin, including parks, biological reserves, ecological stations, extraction reserves, and sustainable development reserves.
Translation: David Silberstein