Saturday, June 14, 2008

Huge debt-for-nature swap provides $20 million to protect biodiversity in Madagascar, WWF announces

World Wildlife Fund: The largest debt-for-nature swap agreement in Madagascar’s history was signed today between the Government of Madagascar and the Government of France, allocating roughly $20 million (13 million Euros) to preserve Madagascar’s rich biodiversity, WWF announced today.

“This initiative is an excellent example of innovative financing for sustainable development,” said Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana, acting regional representative for WWF in Madagascar. “Increasing funding to the endowment of the Foundation for Protected Areas and Biodiversity means support for the protected areas' recurrent costs will be available long term. Stable and predictable revenues are critical to win the battle against deforestation and biodiversity loss in Madagascar.”

Today’s agreement is part of Madagascar’s ambitious national effort, pledged by President Ravalomanana, to triple the size of the country’s protected areas. The funds will be managed through the Foundation for Protected Areas and Biodiversity—a conservation trust fund established by WWF, Conservation International and the Government of Madagascar to support the country’s distinct ecosystems and extraordinary wildlife. With this agreement, the fund has reached its endowment target of $50 million.

Nearly 98 percent of Madagascar’s land mammals, 92 percent of its reptiles, and 80 percent of its plants are found nowhere else on earth. WWF has been active in Madagascar for more than three decades, providing local communities with the support necessary to manage natural resources effectively. Madagascar’s ecosystems provide essential services that support local communities and an array of economic activities. WWF’s vision is to protect, restore and maintain Madagascar’s unique biodiversity in harmony with the culture and livelihoods of the people who live there….

Map of Madagascar from the CIA's World Factbook, Wikimedia Commons

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