MacArthur announced 15 grants totaling more than $4.2 million in support of conservation and sustainable development in the southern Tropical Andes. Often referred to as the “global epicenter of biodiversity,” the region is a primary source of fresh water, holding 90 percent of the world’s tropical glaciers. As climate change and development projects present a growing threat to the region’s diverse ecosystems, the new grants invest in research, policy, and practice that advance sustainable development and prudent stewardship of resources.
“Ecosystems and their biodiversity underpin human well-being,” said Jorgen Thomsen, the Foundation’s Director of Conservation and Sustainable Development. “The Andes region is among the most diverse ecosystems in the world, and we must find a way to reconcile the tremendous desire for economic development in the region with the need to preserve its wide range of precious resources. We hope that successes from these projects will yield models for effective conservation work elsewhere.”
The grants, which will support work in Peru and Bolivia, are the first made in the Tropical Andes under the Foundation’s $176 million, ten-year commitment to conservation and sustainable development, announced in March 2011. Previous rounds of funding have invested in work in the Great Lakes of East Central Africa and the Greater Mekong and its headwaters. The grants are as follows:
- A grant of $350,000 will support Instituto del Bien Comun in its work with Peruvian indigenous communities and local governments to encourage positive environmental governance practices.
- The Wildlife Conservation Society will receive two grants: An award of $350,000 will support capacity building of indigenous peoples in the Andes to address pressing threats associated with development policies and projects. A second grant of $320,000 will support research that will strengthen a policy framework for managing valuable fisheries in Loreto, the largest and most intact department in the Peruvian Amazon.
- A grant of $330,000 will support and expand efforts by Centro para el Desarrollo del Indigena Amazonico to gain recognition and title to ancestral lands in Peru.
- Boston University will receive $306,000 in support of a partnership with Tufts University to conduct policy-oriented research on the environmental and social impacts of economic investment by China in Latin America.
- The Democracy Center will receive a grant of $300,000 in support of a project to capture on-the-ground experiences and adaptation challenges to climate change in the Andes.
- Fundacion Amigos de la Naturaleza will receive an award of $300,000 to implement an innovative community-based approach to fire management as a tangible means of adaptation to climate change.
- A grant of $300,000 will support work efforts of the Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental to strengthen the regional government’s environmental management capacity and regulatory enforcement in the Madre de Dios watershed.
- A grant of $280,000 to the Bank Information Center will help strengthen environmental and social standards of international lending agencies for development projects in Bolivia and Peru.
- Forest Trends will receive $280,000 in support of its efforts to expand understanding of the benefits of ecosystems and to promote the use of innovative conservation financing instruments.
- Servicios Ecosistemicos Peru will receive $250,000 to promote healthy ecosystems by building a bridge between indigenous governance and emerging ecosystem service schemes that generate positive incentives for environmental stewardship.
- Amazon Conservation Association will receive $225,000 in support of a program to better understand migratory fish populations and build regional capacity for managing aquatic resources in the Peruvian portion of the Madre de Dios River.
- An award of $300,000 to Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales will support a project to promote socio-environmental sustainability and regulatory compliance in the Lower Urubamba River.
- EarthRights International will receive $175,000 in support of its efforts to conduct legal advocacy for indigenous groups threatened by unsustainable and environmentally harmful development projects.
- A grant of $150,000 will support the work of the Field Museum of Natural History’s Environment, Culture, and Conservation Program to integrate indigenous values and ecological knowledge in local zoning and land-use plans in Peru.
The MacArthur Foundation has supported conservation efforts around the world for more than 25 years and was the first major private foundation to adopt biodiversity conservation as a core component of its international grantmaking.