LIMA – The Peruvian government said on Wednesday that it planned to spend $140 million to protect 38 nature preserves in the Amazon covering a total of about 17 million hectares (41.9 million acres), an area the size of Uruguay.
The National Protected Natural Areas Service (SERNANP) said the funds would be channeled through the Peru Natural Heritage (PdP) program, which seeks to ensure the sustainability of the national protected natural areas system over the next 20 years.
The project is one of three in Latin America using Project Finance for Permanence (PFP), an innovative strategy that encourages governments to conserve natural areas and pay for their management, helping to permanently protect 12 percent of the Amazon ecosystem.
The funds will be used to create wildlife monitoring teams, develop mitigation strategies and expand the participation of residents and indigenous people in the reserves’ management.
The project also seeks to promote sustainable development in the communities located within the reserves, whose forests provide livelihoods for some 330,000 people in Peru.
President Martin Vizcarra unveiled the project on Monday at Pacaya Samiria, one of the largest nature reserves in Peru.
Pacaya Samiria is in the jungle region of Loreto between the Marañon and Ucayali rivers, which are at the headwaters of the Amazon River, the world’s largest river.
“We are witnesses to the fact that it is possible to conserve our Amazon and offer better living conditions to communities via sustainable activities for using natural resources,” Vizcarra said.
“It is the communities themselves that have managed to give us faith and trust in the possibility of responsibly conserving the jungle and generating sustainability and revenues, thus improving the quality of life of those who serve as guardians of Amazonia,” the president said.
Half of the PdP funds for the Amazon are coming from private and public sector donors, including the Global Environment Fund (GEF), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Andes Amazon Fund and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
The Peruvian government has made a commitment to contribute an additional $70 million over the next 10 years via strategies that generate additional sustainable funds.