The Bezos Earth Fund announced it has awarded $50 million in grants to support conservation and sustainable development in the Amazon. The announcement was made during a convening with leaders of the Brazilian government and representatives of the Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Brasília.
“The future of the Brazilian Amazon is critical to our planet and to the Indigenous Peoples and local communities who call it home,” said Lauren Sánchez, Vice Chair of the Earth Fund. “Prosperity and sustainability can go hand in hand — protecting the Amazon Rainforest is good for people and for the planet.”
The grants announced will support local and international groups working on the creation and management of protected areas and Indigenous territories, the early detection and response to forest fires, supporting economic development and jobs based on the forest, and building capacity for carbon markets.
“Elevating socio-environmental protection and the fight against climate change to the center of government decisions is a priority for the Brazilian government,” said Marina Silva, minister of the Environment and Climate Change of Brazil. “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.”
“The Amazon is one of the most important areas in the world for biodiversity and climate and supports the lives of millions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities,” said Cristián Samper, Managing Director and Leader of Nature Solutions at the Bezos Earth Fund. “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 granted $30.9 million to support the creation of over 8 million hectares of new protected and conserved areas and to improve the protection of 60 million hectares of tropical forests, an area larger than California. These grants will support the designation and protection of Indigenous territories in the northern Amazon of Wayamu, Tumucumaque, Roraima, and Rio Negro, as well as the Javari territories on the border of Peru.
The funding will support the work of local and international organizations, including Nia Tero, the Rainforest Foundation Norway, Rainforest Trust, and the Wildlife Conservation Society to work with other local partners.
As peak fire season approaches in Brazil, forest fire prevention, monitoring, and preparedness are critical. The Earth Fund granted $5 million to Re:wild to be distributed across more than 20 organizations in the nine Amazonian States to support the early detection of fires through remote sensing, training of forest guardians, providing equipment required to combat fires, and mobilizing fire crews to the impacted areas of the Brazilian Amazon.
Protecting the Amazon region requires developing alternative paths for people to prosper, including innovative measures to derive greater value from healthy forests, sustainable agricultural methods, expanding local bioeconomies, and stronger economies across the Amazon.
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 granted the Environmental Defense Fund, leading Brazilian NGOs, and Indigenous organizations $9.7 million to provide training and legal and logistical support to Indigenous and community leaders in two Brazilian States. The grant will help them engage and benefit from emerging carbon market opportunities in the Brazilian Amazon.
To create a prosperous and sustainable Amazon, the communities, cities, and states in the Amazon need strong economies and good jobs that are based on healthy, biodiverse forests. The Earth Fund is providing a $6 million grant to Instituto Clima e Sociedade (iCS) to bring together a network of Brazilian economic researchers and analysts, especially from universities and think tanks in the Amazon. The network will provide leaders in government, business, finance, and civil society with the research, data, and advice they need to design policies, make investments, and create businesses that support standing forests and provide economic opportunities for the people of the Amazon.
The Bezos Earth Fund is Jeff Bezos’s $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and other actors that will drive climate and nature solutions. By allocating funds creatively, wisely, and boldly, the Bezos Earth Fund has the potential for transformative influence in this decisive decade. Funds will be fully allocated by 2030 — the date by which the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved.