The U.S. and Peruvian governments announced today a debt swap that unlocks new financing to protect the Peruvian Amazon, which covers 60% of the country. The agreement leverages the innovative “debt-for-nature” framework pioneered in the 1980s by the late Tom Lovejoy, World Wildlife Fund’s first chief scientist. WWF issued the following statement from Carter Roberts, president and CEO:
“A thriving Amazon matters deeply for the health of our planet and those who call it home. It’s one of the most biodiverse places on Earth and stores some 150-200 billion tons of carbon. But for Peru and other Amazon countries, a key challenge to conserving the rain forest and other critical ecosystems is financing. Agreements like this offer a path forward.
“This agreement will deliver funding to help improve the effectiveness of protected areas in Peru. It will also contribute to the livelihoods of Indigenous peoples and local communities in and around the Peruvian Amazon and bolster Peru’s Natural Legacy (Patrimonio Natural del Perú), which supports the conservation of some 16 million hectares through the innovative Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) approach. WWF thanks the Biden administration for its leadership in finalizing today’s agreement and the U.S. Congress for long-standing bipartisan support for this initiative. We look forward to working with the government of Peru and other partners to secure a vibrant future for the Peruvian Amazon.”