As Peru approaches its independence bicentennial in 2021, it does so on a wave of economic prosperity that has transformed the nation. The poverty rate has fallen dramatically, from 52.2 percent in 2005 to 26.1 percent in 2013 — but at the same time, threats to protected areas have risen sharply.
Today, illegal resource extraction and poorly planned infrastructure projects endanger the wild areas that make Peru one of the world’s “megadiverse” countries – 17 nations which comprise 70 percent of the planet’s total biodiversity. Peru ranks first in the world for its diversity of butterflies and fish, second for its species of birds, fourth for its amphibians and fifth for its mammals. Between human-induced pressures and a changing climate, the vast wild places of Peru face unprecedented risks. To ensure that these national natural treasures are protected for the next 200 years and beyond, long-term funding and management are critical.
This starts with making sure that Peru’s National Parks — from the spectacular rainforests of Manu to the glaciers and milky blue lagoons of Huascarán — have the institutional resources and management capacity in place to ensure sustainability. Patrimonio Natural del Perú, or “National Parks: Peru’s Natural Legacy,” is a government-led “Project Finance for Permanence” initiative, kickstarted in 2014 at the World Parks Congress, that aims to establish a system of financial sustainability for Peru’s National Parks, starting with the country’s verdant heart, the Peruvian Amazon. On the ground, this will translate into more and better supported staff, better equipment and improved protection protocols.
Now, after years of work and collaboration, the Amazon portion of Patrimonio del Peru is “closed.” This means that the funding goal of $140 million needed to expand and manage 41.6 million acres in the Peruvian Amazon has been met, along with other closing conditions designed to secure the success of this initiative.
“I believe that the protection of our natural resources is vital for the needs we will have in the future,” says Pedro Gamboa Moquillaza, who leads Peru’s National Park Service. “If we don’t work together, the only thing that we are destined to have soon is a nation poor in natural resources.” Institutional partners leading the collaboration include the Peruvian National Park Service, Ministry of Environment, President of Peru, Peruvian Environmental Law Society and World Wildlife Fund who have joined with funders — the Government of Peru, the Peruvian Trust Fund for National Parks and Protected Areas (PROFONANPE), World Wildlife Fund, Amazon Andes Fund, the Global Environment Facility and Moore — to deliver on the promise of Peru’s Legacy.
“The headwaters of the Amazon basin are critical for the social and environmental well-being of Peru and the planet,” explains Avecita Chicchón, program director for the Moore Foundation’s Andes-Amazon Initiative.
“With the financial resources secured for key protected areas, there is a clear path to conserve them in perpetuity.”
Today’s closing marks a triumph for the efficacy of the Project Finance for Permanence conservation model, for Peru, and for the world. By promoting park management and sustainable financing as the cornerstones of collective conservation, the partners who have helped make this closing possible are investing in the natural legacy of one of the world’s most biodiverse nations, for the education, enjoyment and livelihood of generations to come.
Read more about Patrimonio Natural del Peru