Bezos Earth Fund commits $50m to preserve Amazon’s biodiversity

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The Bezos Earth Fund has announced the allocation of $50 million in grants to bolster conservation efforts and promote sustainable development in the Amazon. The announcement was made during a conference in Brasília, attended by Brazilian government leaders and representatives of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Lauren Sánchez, Vice Chair of the Earth Fund, stressed the importance of preserving the Brazilian Amazon for the planet and for the Indigenous Peoples and local communities living there. “Prosperity and sustainability can go hand in hand — protecting the Amazon Rainforest is good for people and for the planet,” she said.

The funding is set to bolster local and international organisations working towards the establishment and management of protected regions and Indigenous territories. It will also aid in the early detection of and response to forest fires, help facilitate economic development and jobs centred around the forest and provide support for carbon market capacity building.

Marina Silva, the Brazilian Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, highlighted that the Brazilian government is making environmental protection and the fight against climate change key priorities. “The Amazon is the greatest resource the country has to reintegrate itself into the world, attract investment, generate jobs, and once again be a protagonist in solving humanity’s greatest collective problem – the climate crisis,” she said.

Cristián Samper, Managing Director and Leader of Nature Solutions at the Bezos Earth Fund, acknowledged the Amazon’s significance to biodiversity, climate change and the sustenance of millions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The fund, he emphasised, is devoted to supporting Brazil in protecting this crucial region while mitigating deforestation by finding sustainable paths to prosperity.

The Earth Fund is providing $30.9 million towards the creation of over 8 million hectares of new protected areas in the Amazon and improving the protection of 60 million hectares of tropical forests, a region larger than California. This includes the territories in northern Amazon, Wayamu, Tumucumaque, Roraima, Rio Negro, and the Javari territories bordering Peru.

Several organisations, including Nia Tero, the Rainforest Foundation Norway, Rainforest Trust, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, will benefit from these grants in their partnership with local actors.

With the peak fire season in Brazil looming, $5 million has been assigned to Re:Wild, set to be dispersed amongst over 20 organisations across the nine Amazonian States. This fund aims to promote early fire detection, fire guardian training, provision of necessary firefighting equipment, and mobilising fire crews to vulnerable regions in the Brazilian Amazon.

Preserving the Amazon calls for alternative ways to drive economic prosperity, incorporating measures to derive greater value from healthy forests, sustainable agricultural practices, expanding local bioeconomies and fostering resilient economies across the Amazon.

In a move to support Indigenous and local communities, the Earth Fund is granting the Environmental Defense Fund, leading Brazilian NGOs, and Indigenous organisations $9.7 million. This funding will facilitate training and provide legal and logistical support for Indigenous and community leaders in two Brazilian States, assisting their involvement in emerging carbon market opportunities.

To create a prosperous and sustainable Amazon, the Earth Fund is also granting $6 million to Instituto Clima e Sociedade (iCS), fostering a network of Brazilian economic researchers and analysts. The network will provide leaders in government, business, finance, and civil society with research, data, and advice to create policies, investments, and businesses that support standing forests and provide economic opportunities.

The Bezos Earth Fund is Jeff Bezos’ $10 billion commitment to fund actors driving climate and nature solutions. The fund’s primary goal is to allocate all funds creatively, wisely, and boldly by 2030—the deadline for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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