What is ARPA for Life?
The Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) program, a program of the Brazilian government, is the largest tropical forest conservation program in history. When completed, it will encompass nearly 60 million hectares of protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon — an area one and half times the size of California.
And now, through an unprecedented collaboration between the Brazilian government, NGOs, and public and private funders, an innovative financial model is in place to finance the management and monitoring of ARPA protected areas in perpetuity.
The ARPA for Life financial model provides for a $215 million "transition fund" that will be disbursed gradually — starting high and decreasing until it reaches zero — over approximately 25 years. Meanwhile, the government of Brazil will ramp up its own funding for ARPA each year. By the time the transition fund is paid out, Brazil will assume full responsibility for funding the ARPA protected areas in perpetuity.
To learn more, read WWF's press release about ARPA for Life.
The Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) Program
The ARPA program will permanently protect 15 percent of the Brazilian Amazon — an area three times the size of the U.S. national parks system — for conservation and sustainable use.
Large tracts of intact forest are important for biodiversity conservation and habitat protection, carbon sequestration and mitigation of global climate change, and delivery of fresh water. In the Amazon in particular, large-scale conservation is critical because scientists believe that the resilience of the Amazonian ecosystem depends on maintaining at least 70 percent forest cover.
In addition to its ecological value, the Brazilian Amazon is home to 20 million people, many of whom depend on the region’s forests and other natural resources for their livelihood. That’s why ARPA includes multiple categories of protected areas, nearly half of which are designated for sustainable uses by traditional communities (e.g., harvesting rubber and nuts) that are compatible with conservation objectives.
Get a taste of the Amazon by reading WWF's feature story
ARPA: A Brief History
The original idea for ARPA was born in 1998, when President Fernando Henrique Cardoso made the bold announcement that Brazil would set aside 10 percent of its Amazonian forests for permanent protection and sustainable use.
In the years that followed, international partners — including the German Development Bank, the Global Environment Facility, the government of Norway through the Amazon Fund, WWF, and private funders including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Linden Trust for Conservation — came together in support of Brazil’s efforts.
Early on, grants helped pay for the creation and consolidation of protected areas, but funding was also needed to cover the recurring costs of maintenance and monitoring. Initially, the plan was to build an endowment to cover those long-term expenses. After finding that the amount required to permanently support such a vast area was beyond their collective fundraising capacity, the partners launched ARPA for Life — with its transition fund plus government funding model — in 2011 to meet this need.
ARPA for Life sets up a $215 million transition fund that will bridge the gap while the Brazilian government puts mechanisms in place to finance the maintenance of the ARPA protected areas in perpetuity. The ARPA for Life agreement was signed by the partners in Brasilia on May 21, 2014. It now serves as a model for other countries seeking innovative means to create and fund protected areas.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has supported ARPA since 2002. Grants related to ARPA include:
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