Friday, February 23, 2024

The Bezos Earth Fund Pledges $50 Million for the Brazilian Amazon


In a decisive move to uphold the preservation and sustainable development of the Amazon, the Bezos Earth Fund has awarded $50 million in new grants.

The announcement from Bezos’ $10 billion fund to support scientists, activists, NGOs working to address the climate crisis, comes amidst a gathering of Brazilian government leaders and delegates of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council in Brasília earlier this week. The Funds will be fully allocated by 2030 in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Lauren Sánchez, Vice Chair of the Earth Fund, underscored the vital significance of the Brazilian Amazon not just for the planet but also for the Indigenous Peoples and local communities residing within it.

“The future of the Brazilian Amazon is critical to our planet and to the Indigenous Peoples and local communities who call it home. Prosperity and sustainability can go hand in hand — protecting the Amazon Rainforest is good for people and for the planet,” Sánchez said in a statement.

Courtesy Zeke Tucker

The grants dispersed will provide financial aid to both local and global organizations involved in the establishment and management of safeguarded territories and Indigenous lands, early detection and handling of forest fires, fostering forest-dependent economic development and jobs, and boosting capabilities for carbon markets.

Marina Silva, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change of Brazil, emphasized the country’s commitment to environmental protection and the battle against climate change. “Elevating socio-environmental protection and the fight against climate change to the center of government decisions is a priority for the Brazilian government,” she said. “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.”

Cristián Samper, Managing Director and Leader of Nature Solutions at the Bezos Earth Fund, highlighted the critical nature of the Amazon in terms of biodiversity, climate, and its support to millions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. He said, “The Bezos Earth Fund is committed to helping Brazil to protect this critical region while also reducing the drivers of deforestation by finding alternative paths to prosperity for the people living in the Amazon.”

The Earth Fund has designated $30.9 million to aid the creation of more than 8 million hectares of newly protected areas and the reinforcement of protection for 60 million hectares of tropical forests, an area exceeding the size of California. The fund will also finance the determination and safeguarding of Indigenous territories in the northern Amazon.

amazon rainforest
Courtesy Nate Johnston

Another critical facet, especially with the upcoming peak fire season in Brazil, is forest fire prevention, surveillance, and readiness. Hence, the Earth Fund has granted $5 million to Re:Wild to distribute to over 20 organizations across the nine Amazonian States.

A significant part of the initiative involves exploring alternate avenues for prosperity in the Amazon region. These encompass innovative ways to yield greater value from thriving forests, promoting sustainable agricultural practices, expanding local bioeconomies, and enhancing economies across the Amazon.

According to the Bezos Earth Fund, only a small fraction of climate and forest finance reaches Indigenous and local communities, leaving critical rightsholders and stakeholders too often “pushed to the margins: when negotiating climate and forest finance.

The Earth Fund has also committed $9.7 million to the Environmental Defense Fund, leading Brazilian NGOs, and Indigenous organizations to empower Indigenous and community leaders through training and support. An additional $6 million grant to the Instituto Clima e Sociedade (iCS) will aid in establishing forest-protecting economies in the Brazilian Amazon.

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