In May 2019, after five years of negotiation and collaboration, the “Patrimonio Natural del Peru” partnership formally announced that its funding goal of $140 million had been met, securing the country’s ability to expand and manage 41.6 million acres of Peruvian Amazon.

It was a culmination and accomplishment to celebrate within Peru and around the world. Peru has the second greatest expanse of Amazonian territory in South America (60 percent of the country is Amazon rainforest, and 20 percent of that is designated as “protected”), and ranks first among all nations for its astounding diversity of butterflies and fish, second for its birds, fourth for its amphibians and fifth for its mammals. And the headwaters for the lower stem of the mighty Amazon river originate in Peru: in the far upstream Mantaro, in the Apurimac, in the high-volume Marañon — and the ultimate origin is found in Mismi, a peak in Arequipa.

However, the country’s spectacular biodiversity is increasingly threatened by illegal resource extraction and poorly planned infrastructure projects, as human-induced pressures and a changing climate have begun to infringe upon Peru’s vast intact ecosystems. To ensure conservation of these ecosystems and the biodiversity that needs them to thrive, securing long-term funding and effective management for the country’s national parks was critical.

Patrimonio Natural del Perú, or “National Parks: Peru’s Natural Legacy,” succeeded in achieving that and established a global model for the rest of the world. The government-led “Project Finance for Permanence” initiative, launched at the 2014 World Parks Congress, created a mechanism for financial sustainability for the country’s extraordinary national parks. The collaborative effort is well on its way to securing institutional resources and enhanced management capacity through additional trained staff, better equipment, improved conservation protocols, and effective participation of local communities.

The Peruvian National Park Service, Ministry of Environment, President of Peru, and the Peruvian Trust Fund for National Parks lead the collaboration, along with World Wildlife Fund and Peruvian Environmental Law Society. These organizations joined with funders — the Government of Peru, Andes Amazon Fund, the Global Environment Facility, the Green Climate Fund, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation — to deliver on the promise of Peru’s natural legacy, “for everyone, and forever.” 

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